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1  Learn to Spin - Lesson 6 - Yarn design in Spinning: Discussion and Questions by Belladune on: September 16, 2015 12:52:36 PM
Wow! Yarn Design! That encompasses quite a few topics!  I'll start with the most important aspect of yarn design: Your fibre choice and preparation!

Fibre choice:
Everyone loves some next to skin soft merino wool.  But did you know that not all wool is created equal, and not all yarn needs to be next to skin soft? Next to skin soft yarn does not wear as well as a coarser, less crimpy fibre.  Wensleydale and Lincoln wool make wonderful rugs.  So, with that in mind, what is the end use of your yarn? Toque and mitts? Well, you'll want that lovely merino or even BFL (Blue Faced Leicester).  Heck, you don't even necessarily need to spin wool. There's Alpaca, cotton, bamboo, and silk, just to name a few.

Fibre Prep:

There are many preparations available to hand spinners today.  Commercially processed types include, but are not limited to: Roving, Sliver, and Top.

Roving(semi woollen preparation) is created from carding, and pulling the fibres into a long, rope like package. Fibres are not aligned at all, and there is a slight twist in the rope. There is a lot of air in this fluffy preparation.
Sliver (semi worsted preparation) is an intermediary step from roving to top.  The fibres are more aligned, but not of similar lengths. They are often smaller in diameter and not as dense as combed top.
Top (worsted preparation) is a  combed preparation that leaves almost only all the longest fibres, and it leaves them in parallel alignment.  This is the most dense form of commercial prep.

There are also many hand prepared options as well. They include, but are not limited to: hand carded rolags, batts,  hand pulled rovings, and hand combed top.

Hand carded rolags (woollen preparation) are made on hand cards. The fibre is out of alignment as much as it possibly can be.

Batts (semi woollen preparation) are fluffy sheets of fibres, often blends of different fibres, that have been prepared on a home sized drum carder. The fibres are not aligned. There are many, many ways to spin a batt. Truth be told however you spin it works perfectly. It'll make yarn if you put twist into it and draft it out.

Hand pulled rovings (semi worsted preparation) are generally made with a hackle. the fibres can be more aligned then not.

Hand combed tops(worsted preparation) are less dense then commercially preped tops.  They are, however, similar to the commercially preped tops in that all the short fibres are removed and fibres are aligned. 

Adding twist can be done in a few different ways, and it directly affects the type of yarn you end up with.  There is an infinite spectrum of Worsted to Woollen yarns. Lets explore the most worsted and most woollen types of yarns.

True Worsted yarns by definition are worsted spun from hand combed top. Let's explore what exactly worsted spinning is.  When you are drafting your fibre out to allow twist in, you create something of a triangle shape. In worsted spinning, you do not allow the twist to travel past where you are pinching off and pulling out the fibres.  You smooth the fibres down, squeezing any air out of the resulting make of yarn.  This produces a dense, heard wearing, and smooth yarn.

True Woollen yarns are spun from hand carded rolags. Woollen spinning is the opposite of worsted spinning in that you allow the fibre into your drafting triangle, and you do not pinch out the air.  The air and the misaligned fibres are what give woollen spun yarns their characteristic fluffy and fuzzy nature. Woollen yarns are also a lot warmer then worsted yarns.

The in betweens are any mix up of prep type and spinning style. Spin a worsted preparation with a woollen draft, and you will get a lighter, less dense but still durable yarn.  Spin a woollen preparation with a worsted draft and you'll still get some of the fuzziness, but your yarn will be dense.

With the basics covered, some more exciting ways of sprucing up your yarns involve plying with thread, adding beads, plying at different angles, core spinning, coiling...  plying an over plied yarn on itself gives you a cabled yarn. Add bits of fluff or fabric between your plies.

And then there's colour! Play with colour combinations. Spin one colour after the other, and ply that singles with a solid coloured singles.  What about wrapping one color of fibre around a singles to make clouds?

The possibilities really are endless! So go forth, create yarns! It doesn't matter how you do it, so long as you are putting twist into fibre, you are making yarn!

Lesson 1 : Source your tools
Lesson 2 : Drafting
Lesson 3 : Spinning
Lesson 4 : Plying
Lesson 5 : Skeining and setting the twist
Lesson 6 : Yarn design[url]
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2  Learn to Spin - Lesson 5 - Skeining and Setting the Twist in Spinning: Discussion and Questions by Belladune on: September 16, 2015 10:34:02 AM
Lesson 5 - Skeining your yarn and setting the twist.

Alright! Now that we have our yarn plied, what next? It's time to skein and wash. What you will need is a niddy noddy, or some other something to wrap your skein around.  Your arm would work well. the back of a chair will work. You can also up end a chair and wrap all the way around all 4 legs. Any of these methods will work. 

A simple tutorial for a niddy noddy, by k8kre8s:

Okay, so you've made yourself a niddy noddy, but how does one go about using this thing? Honestly the best way to show is a video.  I've found a great video for you to watch, produced by the Woolery.

Now that you have your yarn onto the niddy noddy (or your arm or a chair or what ever device you are using to skein) you must loosely tie your skien, so that it does not tangle when you take it off and soak it to set the twist.  Tie your skein in at least 4 places using scrap yarn.  Make a figure eight, or multiple figure eights if you've got a large amount of yarn.  Don't tie these ties tightly! you want to leave room for the twist to redistribute itself.  Another tip is the finer your yarn, the more places you want to tie.  Fine yarn loves to tangle.

Set it!
There are a couple ways to set your twist.  The first being a nice warm bath.  This method is best for wool.  You don't want it so hot you can't put your hands in comfortably, but you also don't want it to be cool either.  a dash of wool wash is a good thing to add to this step, because you've added the grease in your hands, any dust or dirt that was floating about, and any number of other things you don't want in your yarn.  Leave it in this water for at least 20 minutes. The second warm bath for your yarn is clean water with a tiny glug of vinegar.  The vinegar helps to remove the residual soap, and doesn't harm the wool. Leave in this bath for another 20 minutes.  It takes 30 minutes for the wool to be come completely saturated, and the twist will settle and redistribute itself fully the longer it's in the bath.  Both baths should be roughly the same temperature, or you risk shocking the wool and fulling your skein.

You could also steam your skeins.  You do this by placing your skein over a pot of full rolling boil water.  Use a couple wooden spoons as handles though, you don't want to scald your self!  This method works best, and is quite fun to watch when you've got a skien of silk.

Also, fulling and thwacking!! If you are to spin your yarn woollen (which I'll address in the next instalment - yarn design) you'll want to full and thwack your yarn. This involves a hot soapy wash, and an icy cold rinse, no shortage of agitation, and whipping your skein on a hard surface (counter, tub side, table) rotating the skein in quarters.  This process fluffs the fibres up, and evens out the twist in a woollen spun yarn.

Fun Fact!  Wool will hold 30% of its weight in moisture and still feel dry!

Dry your your skein either by laying it flat, or hanging on the towel rack.  If you choose to hang, be sure to rotate your skein. The weight of the water will stretch out the yarn, and you want this to happen as evenly as possible.

Another fun fact on setting your twist, some will advise that you hang and weight your yarn. This isn't always the best idea, as it gives a false impression of the yarn. Once knitted or crocheted or otherwise turned into something, the fibres will go back to the way they want, and not be stretched out. This may make your garment/item an undesirable shape.

Who knew there was so much to setting the twist?!

Lesson 1 : Source your tools
Lesson 2 : Drafting
Lesson 3 : Spinning
Lesson 4 : Plying
Lesson 5 : Skeining and setting the twist
Lesson 6 : Yarn design[url]
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3  Re: Fridge Magnet Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Belladune on: September 16, 2015 09:54:21 AM
 Grin  Thanks all for the complements!!

My magnets from Blupaisan came the other day!!  (I'm sorry the images are sideways. my computer is fighting with me. And it has more tenacity then I do today.)

The all of them pic!  they are each unique and cute and I have to say the owl and the dolly in a box are my absolute favourites.

The mousey and kitty in a basket. Cute!!

Owl, dolly in a box, and acorn man. I love the acorn man hat too. So sweet.

Thanks so much Blu! It was a great way to get back into the swapping thing again!
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4  Hey! It's a FIBRE FRIDAY! July 24, 2015 (pic heavy!) in Spinning: Completed Projects by Belladune on: July 24, 2015 07:35:30 AM

So, what have you all been up to? Whatcha spinnin'??

Here's what I've been doing!
The finished yarn:

And I'll share the process too! First step, dye the locks!

Second step, card em all up! Even if you're out camping Wink

Third step get ready to spin! And it's always great to have a helper kitty, right?

Fourth step: Spin anywhere!

And finally tally up how much there is! 4oz, 275yards, Woollen spun from hand carded rolags, 100% Shetland cross wool.

But wait! since it's been a while, there's more!

Master Spinner, Level 4, DONE. Seriously, that was a really fun level. Loads of work though!

And Master Spinner Level 5 dye day skeins. Hand spun Cotton (I spun 2 oz more then required... So it's going into my final project..) dyed with fibre reactive dyes.  First set: Percentage dyeing. Second set: Colour wheel.  All we start out with is Red, Yellow and Blue dye!

Okay, I'll leave this post at that... But I'm going to make another for all the batts i've carded up! 

Please share what you've been up to, spin wise, too!!
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5  Simple landscape in Needlework: Completed Projects by Belladune on: June 06, 2015 07:35:56 PM

This was just a vision, that started with handmade felt. I made the green grass and blue sky out of wool (and hot water and agitation), and then stitched the flowers with a combination of backstitch, daisy stitch (I don't think that's the proper name, but you make daisies out of it. It also makes cute leaves) and french knots.  The cloud is couched embroidery thread. I used a gold filament to secure it.  And then I painted the frame to match!

Hope you enjoy!
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6  mmm batts in Spinning: Completed Projects by Belladune on: May 26, 2015 12:05:24 PM
My friend started raising angora bunnies!! It's absolutely the best things since sliced bread. More fluff for me!
This batt is 75% BFL and 25% angora bunny. It's dreamy.

And I made a great big pile of these ones, but they are just merino wool, and the colors are layered. So, depending on which way I roll them, you either see the dark grey, or the aqua.  There's also a light grey in between them.

I've been sneaking in 30minutes to an hour everyday to play with my drum carder, so watch for more!!
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7  A couple big Skeins of handspun <3 in Spinning: Completed Projects by Belladune on: May 23, 2015 07:41:50 AM
Two big skeins, that I haven't measured yet, but I started with about 8 ounces of fibre.  I dyed the merino top, and it felted up a bit, so I ran it through my drum carder

Here are the yarns:

This is what it looked like in batt form (there were lots of them, but these are two good examples:

And a little update on the yarns I posted last week.  This is how they look now that I'm knitting them:

I'll give it it's own thread later, once it's finished.

Thanks for looking!

(gah! I don't know why they are sideways!!  They aren't on my computer...)
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8  Re: Fiber Friday, 8 May 2015 in Spinning: Completed Projects by Belladune on: May 08, 2015 03:27:08 PM
We are most certain due for a fibre friday!! Gorgeous work, Calluna!

Here's my biggest project finished up! This is the yarn for my final project for level 4 of the Master spinners program. I've washed, flicked, blended, carded and spun up the most gorgeous Est D'laine Merino. The brown/fawn coloured is the natural color, and the darkest in the portion of the fleece I bought.  I blended it with silk noils.  The purple is percentage dyed to achieve the color gradation. And the purple is achieved using 25% red, and 75% blue Jacquard acid dyes. So far, this project has taken nearly 50 hours, so I'm so hoping I can fill the last 25 hours with knitting and blocking.... >.<

Otherwise, this pile of tiny skeins have been taking up a fair share of my time too... And that's not all of them!

And that's truly not all, I have a few more skien done, but I haven't taken any pictures or anything, and I'm running out of time to post today!
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9  Meet Agatha and Enri in Felting: Completed Projects by Belladune on: April 12, 2015 07:32:39 AM
These two were made for Alwaysinmyroom in the Geezers Alive and Kicking swap.  Their bodies are both fully needle felted, and their jackets (well, Enri's shell) are wet felt. Agatha also sports a black jumpsuit.  She's jointed, so she can be posed a little bit.

Here's a look at what she looked like before i added her hair and put her arms and legs on.

Thanks for looking!
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10  Re: 4kgs of merino in Dyeing: Completed Projects by Belladune on: April 07, 2015 05:35:07 PM
This is the grey/yellow

and you can see the colour better in this picture.. but I can't find a solo pic...
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