April 27, 2004

This almost never happens

Something I wasn't expecting has happened. In absolute contrast to everything else I have ever set out to spin (or, you know...anything else in my life at all) I have made exactly what I set out to make. No surprises..no happy accidents..no "well, that's just as good as what I had planned". Everything worked exactly the way I intended it to. (I'm typing quickly, as I expect to be hit by lightning in the immediate future).

Yesterday, when I announced my intention to combine wool and silk for spinning and to be promptly unhappy thereafter...Laurie sent me this link to The Silk Worker. Which I think helped a lot. (Ok, fine, it completely changed the way I will handle silk forever)

First, I changed the way I carded the silk. The genius behind this site suggests not making a wool-silk-wool sandwich, (mistake #1) and once I did that.....brilliance.
I spun it up, using her suggestion to keep my hands dry (mistake #2, my sweaty little death grip wasn't working for me) and my singles looked pretty darned good.
I made a two ply, taking her advice that "trying to ply silk from a centerpull ball, even if the silk is not very tightly spun, will put you in the nuthouse." (mistake #3, I always use a centrepull ball.) When I was done...


Nothing wrong with that. I confirmed Joe's suspicions about me by doing a little dance with it. That's the best result I've had with silk ever. As a general rule, my silk attempts end up looking so rough that if somebody happens to see it before I can throw it away I tell them that my ten year old did it.
This was worth keeping. This was worth A Next Step.

The next step was a trip to the dye pot. I have had trouble before with the dye "breaking" (see January 27), and I've pretty much figured out what I'm doing that makes it break. So...this time I wanted the dye to break, hoping that I would get a subtle variegated look, so I screwed everything up. I made every mistake in the book. I didn't soak the yarn, I started with cold water, I added vinegar, I put in a few drops of food colouring, I didn't ever stir. I asked for disaster. It worked perfectly. (It worked so well in fact, that I'm thinking about applying this idea to more areas of my life. Strive for perfection...get disaster, strive for disaster....hmmm) I let the yarn sit in the hot dyebath for 3 hours, waiting for the dye to be exhausted. In the end, I became exhausted before the dye was and I fished it out, rinsed it off and was awestruck. Beautiful no? The photo doesn't even begin to do it justice, the yarn has more royal blue and some pink in real life.


I feel like I just came in first in a marathon. Any suggestions about what to do with 105 m
of really cool fingering weight wool/silk?

In other news, Eeyore (no, it's not a smurf...do I look like the kind of blogger who would be knitting a smurf? Don't answer that.) proceeds apace. I'm almost ashamed by how fond I am becoming of him. I am on the brink of referring to him as "cute".


I hope I finish him before ...I don't know....I want to buy a kitten or something.

Posted by Stephanie at April 27, 2004 12:02 PM