Monday, January 28, 2013

January Skill Stretch: Big Ol' Singles!

This month, I decided I was going to complete some 'knitable' skeins of singles. Normally, I ply EVERYTHING. If I would like to keep a colour progression intact, I would chain-ply my single, turning it into a three ply yarn. But there are sooo many advanced spinning techniques I would like to try, and many of them involve being able to create a balanced (or as balanced as can be) single.  I thought this would be an excellent skill to stretch for January, at the beginning of my explorations!

My first attempt involved some lovely superwash BFL and nylon I purchased at Fibres West in 2010.  I bought this yarn from Smith and Ewe in the colourway "Sunflower." I just opened the bag, and spun the colours as presented.

Next, I decided to play with my 'gift' from Judith Mackenzie last year. This very special skein of yarn was given to me at the beginning of the comprehensive spinning course she presented to the GVWSG last year. She gave all her students one skein of her own hand dyed BFL/silk, and I have been saving it for a special occasion. I figured learning how to make something new would be something she would approved of. 

Finally, I decided to explore some of the colour skills I learned at Cheryl Huseby-Wiebe's Colour Control workshop last year.  I took a braid of Sweetgeorgia's Fibre Club October 2011 offerings (aka "Panda" fibre dyed in the colourway "Rockwater"), and split it into many narrow stripes. I marled two random stripes of this colourway together with a small amount of green Angelina fibre I purchased at Fibres West last year.

I gave all these singles a solid washing, then the '50 Shades of Grey" treatment to whack them into shape, and let them hang un-weighted to dry. I took them outside into the beautiful BC January sunshine and took a few photos:

Sunflower: (on Ravelry)

Judith's Gift: (on Ravelry)

Rockwater and Angelina: (on Ravelry)

Wonderful! Sure, there are a few little kinks, but once they are knit, I'm sure any biasing will barely be noticeable. I can't wait to swatch these skeins - I am already planning a linen stitch scarf with the Sunflower. I think Judith's Gift will become a small cowl for me, and who knows what will become of of the glittery Rockwater! I think it looks like mermaid hair... maybe something fun and lacey? 

I would also like to acknowledge Felicia Lo's blog post on the Sweetgeorgia website. She talks about pushing new spinning skills, spinning with other people, and dedicating the time to your craft - EXACTLY the values I am working on this year. Thanks to Felicia for her very kind words, and the nod towards my Ravelry stash. It's so exciting to see other spinners in my area feeling the same way - I live in a place with a great community for sharing, exploring, and encouraging each other to try something new.

If you too are planning spinning goals, please PLEASE share them! Put your handspun on Ravelry, show it at a guild meeting, blog about how you did it! Challenge yourself in a class or workshop. Improve your technical skills, finesse your technique. And then share, share, share!


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