Spinning samples and dangerous shopping habits

I’ve started making sample singles of fibre to help me plan what to do with it. The top row of cards in the photo are all fibre from Freyalyn on Etsy. The first card is a bit of superwash merino that she sent as a sample – it spins up nicely but feels a bit fleecey compared to the other two, which are the fibres I bought. The green (colourway ‘caribbean’) is for a gift, and the purple (colourway ‘wisteria’) for me. Both of the samples are spindle-spun two ply, in varying thicknesses from about laceweight to about DK. I’ve started spinning the green on the wheel – it will probably be about DK or worsted when it’s done and plied (I can go thinner on a spindle than I can on the wheel, for some reason. I suppose practice will help). I might even think about navajo plying this, because the greens are all quite close so it won’t end up very stripy if I do.

I’m less sure about the purple. It might not be visible in the pic, but it’s purple and green and pink. It probably wants to be two ply to blend and merge the colours the way I like, but I’m not sure about thickness. I love the thinner bits of the sample, so I’m thinking about spinning it on a spindle to get it thinner (and because I’d like to have both a wheel and a spindle project on the go at once), but then I don’t know what I’d knit with it when done. As alluded to in the previous post, I need to work out what the point of spinning is (for me) and resign myself to it. If I’m spinning for product, I should not begin until I know what I’m planning to make. If I’m spinning for process, I should stop beating myself up about what I’m going to knit, and just enjoy the spinning. And of course there’s always spinning for gifts, which means I’m spinning for a point, but someone else gets the problem joy of deciding what to knit with the stuff when it’s done ;-)

In related news, Ravelry has allowed me to tentatively identify my wheel as an Ashford Traditional. To celebrate this discovery, I decided to buy an Ashford spinners’ maintenance kit, which contains wheel oil and various bits and pieces to replace things that might break or get lost, some of which have indeed broken or got lost (and been fudged one way or another). This decision created a problem, though. Buying such a small thing is not cost-effective where postage charges are concerned, so clearly I needed to buy some other things to make it worthwhile. I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like a/some spinning book(s) to add to my knitting books, and I’ve been wandering around Ravelry and Amazon looking at reviews and trying to choose the ones I think likely to suit me best. 




Fibrecrafts, the purveyor of my spinning maintenance kit, have a pretty decent selection of craft books, so this seemed like the ideal thing to do. The problem came when I decided to start comparing prices with Amazon. Two of the three books I was considering were significantly cheaper on Amazon. But the third one wasn’t, and was enough to make the Fibrecrafts delivery charge sensible. While I was there I allowed myself a very quick look at their fibre. Their wool is solid colour, so I knew I wasn’t currently interested in that, but I’ve been wanting to try spinning dyed ‘silk hankies’ since reading the article on Knitty about them (which may even have been what made me want to try spinning in the first place). Silk is expensive, but two tiny little 10g bags of silk not so much ;-) It’s crazy stuff to handle, however. It snags on everything. I’m aware that my hands are probably not the smoothest ever, but this stuff was snagging on my skin. All I’ve done with it so far is extract one gossamer sheet of the stuff and start predrafting it into roving, which is not as easy as the literature had led me to believe. It’s pretty, anyway.

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