Daily Archives: May 17, 2007

Yarn that Does Not Suck

This past week I learned a very important lesson about spinning. Poetically speaking, you could say “from humble beginnings comes greatness”.

More honestly, let’s say “from crappy roving comes yarn that does not suck”.

Witness: Crappy Roving

crappy roving
I played with the “notes” feature on Flickr, highlighting some of the noils and VM!

Witness: Yarn that Does Not Suck

grey merino 3-ply skeins

merino 3-ply with penny

A few days back I posted the initial results of spinning this roving into a single. I was not happy with it at all. The VM aside, it drafts like a bugger: the noils cause snags and bumps, evenness was nigh-on impossible. I even tried to take the “people pay extra for thick-and-think singles” approach, but couldn’t get that right!

But it occurred to me that a) I have the roving here and now, and b) even if I do get better with time this will still be lumpy roving full of bits of hay and c) if I don’t use it now I won’t like it more with time. Furthermore, in time I will be able to afford to get nicer merino rovings, maybe even handpainted ones. “Y’know, self,” (I said to myself), “you might as well just spin ugly singles.” So I did, picking out the worst bits of hay as I went.

Then I figured, “Since I’ve got these ugly singles anyway, and they’ve turned out kind of thin, why not experiment with plying?” So I did, and played with Navajo plying (3-ply with chained singles*). Starting out was pretty tricky, but I soon got into a nice rhythm for making the loops, and I didn’t end up with much overspin, too.

As I was skeining off the bobbin, I realized that this yarn does not suck. It is soft, and a little “squishy”. The 3 plies made for a nice, round yarn. The unevenness of the “ugly singles” was smoothed over. The colour and textural variation of the noils gives the yarn visual interest, an almost “tweed” look. This is a Yarn that Does Not Suck.

One of these days I’ll actually remember to weigh my skeins, estimate yardage, and/or take a final WIP count. Really. I swear. For now, though, it’s probably about a “worsted” or “heavy worsted” weight, and there’s probably about 75m per skein. I think it will become something cabled…

*See Spin Off! magazine (availble on my Links page) for a useful .pdf on this technique.


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