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05 July 2013 @ 11:52 am
On pause  
I've taken a pause from the Masters swatches because I'm not sure how (or whether) I want to weave in the ends and block the swatches I've completed, and I can't get the swatches I haven't completed yet to come out properly. Instead, I'm spinning for Tour de Fleece again. After a self-inflicted wound on my first project (how did I not notice my singles for a two-ply yarn were totally different WPI until I was halfway through plying?) I'm working on some silk hankies.

They're marvelous creatures. They're silk! Shiny! Takes dye like whoa, so brilliant colors! But... I have more thoughts and feelings about them than I might have posted last time I thought about sharing my thoughts and feelings about spinning silk hankies.

Drafting them is...best described in language unsuitable for a family blog. And I think I figured it out. Seriously - each individual silk fiber is smooth and shiny and not grippy and if you're spinning silk top it's the easiest thing in the world to just watch your fiber supply totally fall apart on you because you nudged it just a tiny bit too far, right? BUT: compare to the Mythbusters demonstration where they interleaved two telephone books and it took TANKS to pull them apart; individually a sheet of paper is fairly low-friction, but you make it up in volume. Individually, a silk fiber is a slippery bugger, but if you put a two-foot-long fiber along another two-foot-long fiber and then maybe tangle them up a bit... nothing wants to go anywhere. My method for drafting them involves "clench fists around fiber supply tighter than you thought possible, pull until it goes." It's a fiber technique *and* a strength workout! So now my right thumb is abraded from the fiber and there's a scratched-up area on my palm from before I decided I needed to clip my fingernails - but I hope I don't build up a callus there, because that would just give the fiber one more spot to snag on...

To some extent, my approach to spinning involves getting the yarn I get - but with, say, wool, I know that I could change that if I really, truly wanted to. With silk hankies? Nuh-uh. There's going to be noil - there's no way a human being could straighten out the fibers in the margin of the hankies. There's going to be that spot where you accidentally over-drafted and ended up with just four or five strands in the working fiber and ended up with something you could barely see that still miraculously managed to hold your spindle up and you were too amazed to break it off and work more fiber in. There's going to be that spot that was just a little lumpy and is it really worthwhile to totaly, absolutely, 100% untwist to a totally neutral point not just the couple inches on either side but maybe a foot towards the spindle in order to abrade your thumb just a little bit more trying to even out the drafting? Maybe if I were better at handling them - this is only really my third time out - I'd be better at getting a perfectly even draft out of every last hankie, but for now, that's a pipe dream. So I'm going to spin the yarn I get, and hope that relaxes me enough that I can deal with getting the yarn I got instead of the yarn I wanted out of the other fiber.

(Whoa, need a new TdF icon, yes? I'm not riding with Lantern Rouge this year... Go Team Dizzy!)
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
The Frog Queen: Losgunnalosgunna on July 10th, 2013 10:57 pm (UTC)
I haven't been paying attention to the TdF thread on Dizzy - I'm so happy you joined them!! You need to visit the Dizzy crew more often :)
stitchy_stitchy: knittingstitchy_stitchy on July 11th, 2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
And you need to learn to spin. :) Actually silk hankies are not a bad first project - 99% of the cussing involved is done in advance, and it's almost impossible to either over- or under-spin them.