In my last blog I began the process of creating yarn, from animal to fiber. It has been an exciting and challenging process, and I am loving it. I am however as I mentioned in said blog, a fairly impatient person. So when on vacation, in beautiful Bend, Oregon, I found myself tooling around a yarn shop called Gossamer, I couldn’t resist purchasing this pencil roving.
I had promised myself I wouldn’t start spinning my alpaca fiber until I had finished turning it all into rolag. (I have some challenges with follow through and try to be aware of these when setting goals). Well alpacas are big, and it is taking way longer than I anticipated. Not one to break a promise, I decided that trying to spin some already processed roving wasn’t exactly cheating.
I have had Aurora for a while now, but finding fiber for spinning can be a tricky thing. As a result while she has been loved and maintained, she hasn’t gotten as much use as I would like. Honestly, I’ve been dying to take her for a spin!
So I brought home my roving, and set out to do some spinning. Spinning while it takes some practice and finesse, is actually relatively easy. The wheel really does most the work. You just have to gently hold the roving, and pedal in a slow and rhythmic way. The most important part is to go slow enough that you don’t spin it too tight, which I definitely did.
This is a big pain in the ass and should be avoided if possible. If there is an easy way to unwind it, I did not figure it out. I spent many hours draping it all across my living room and slowly trying to wind it in the opposite direction (unwind). Annoying is not a suitable word for this process. In retrospect, I wish I had taken a picture of the massive spiderweb that resulted in my living room, but as mentioned above it was rather annoying, and at the time taking a picture was not high on my list of priorities.
So the process…
I did a two-ply yarn, this means I spun approximately half of the roving onto one bobbin, and then the other half onto another bobbin. This gave me two bobbins each with a single ply spun yarn.
I then took the two bobbins and spun them together, spinning the opposite direction of the original spin. The simplistic beauty of fiber art, is one of the things that amazes me about it. It is an ancient art form practiced by all kinds of people, all over the world. While there are certainly tools that make it easier, there is not necessarily one right way to do it, and the results reflect the individual spinners influence. The art of spinning simply put is pulling or drawing out fibers and then twisting them together to make them stronger.
Here is my two-ply made by spinning the two singles together. If you look close enough you will now see that there are two different strands that are being spun together.
I did the spinning pretty much when ever I had free time. For me the process of creating yarn and knitting in general is very meditative, so I jump at the opportunity to be consumed by it. In all I would estimate the actual spinning process took a total of 6-8 hours. Being new to this, I have no idea if that is quick or not, so I will update you when I have more experience!
After the spinning is complete you have to set your twist. I simply wound the yarn from elbow to thumb and tied a string around it to make it more manageable. Soaked it in some lukewarm water (being careful not to agitate since I was working with wool), pressing it with a towel to get the majority of the moisture out, and then hanging it in a window to finish drying.
I didn’t measure it out, but I was confident that I had enough for the project that I had in mind.
Okay guys well the verdict is in… Spinning is every single bit as amazing as I had hoped it would be! I can’t wait to get all that alpaca cleaned up so I can start spinning it. Stay tuned and I will post about what I knitted with this beautiful yarn.