Saturday, 13 July 2013

Tour de Fleece 2013 #4

When dealing with fibre, the best way to measure how much you have is by weight.  Every spinner either learns this very early on or knows it intuitively.  However, I learned something else about spinning this week.  I learned that when you take a braid of fibre (which, once unravelled is just one long strand of fibres), and split it down the middle lengthwise to make two strands, these strands will not necessarily be the same weight, even if you take painstaking care to try to split it exactly in half.  The purpose of splitting it exactly in half is that if you spin one half onto one bobbin, and the other half onto a second bobbin, if you spin evenly and consistently between the two bobbins, the colours should match up when you ply them and you will have a self-striping yarn.

After my last post I still wasn't sure whether I was going to spin my fibre to be self striping as above, or spin it fractally.  So, I decided to split my fibre and spin up one bobbin, during which time I could decide whether I wanted to keep the second half as it was, or split it further to create shorter colour changes for the second ply.

When I had split the fibre and had two long strands I decided to weigh the two halves to make sure they were even.  I switched my kitchen scale to grams (instead of ounces) for as much accuracy as possible. Alas, from 118 grams of fibre, I had made two strands equalling 118 grams, however they were certainly not halves.  One strand was 66 grams, the other was 52.  In fibre land, that's a big difference.  As I had absolutely no idea how to split the strands again to make the two strands equal (it may sound easy to do but it's really not, fibre is a funny thing), I realized that my decision of whether to fractal spin or not had already been made for me.

I took some fibre off of the end of the 66 gram strand and added it to the end of the 52 gram strand, so then I had one with 60 grams and one with 58 grams.  I figured that was close enough, and then spun it up over the next few days.

I don't know why this picture won't centre properly.

With that finished as of last night, I set about to splitting up the second half.  

I had intended to split the second half into three strands, however after splitting as carefully as I could into three strands, I had one of 26 grams, one of 20 grams, and one of 14 grams.  Seriously, I don't know how spinners do this accurately!  Am I over-thinking it?

Anyway, I quickly realized that if I split the 26 gram strand into two, I'd have two 13 gram strands which was pretty close to 14, and then the 20 gram strand would just be... well... whatever.

So then I had four strands.  However, you guessed it, I couldn't split the 26 gram strand evenly either.  So the final tally is that I have one of 11 grams, one of 14 grams, one of 15 grams, and one of 20 grams.

My plan now is that I'm just going to spin them in order of smallest to largest, and my eventual finished yarn will have colour changes that get slightly longer throughout.  I know it doesn't have to be perfect, and I'm really not striving for perfection.  But I feel like splitting the stupid fibre really shouldn't be the part of spinning that is most difficult for me.

Oh well, hooray for mediocrity!

1 comment:

  1. Oh I so struggle with the splitting thing. I split my last bundle in 1/2 and then spun both halves on to the same bobbin....forgetting to split the second half into more sections lol. Well, I still plan on doing a two ply. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. I LOVE the colors in the fiber you are spinning now. Gorgeous!!!!