Spit join, my version

[warning - bodily fluids discussed] I linked to a Craftsy tutorial on the spit join in the most recent Purl Two Together. The spit join is ideal for my current project because I'm using wool (won't work with synthetic materials) I don't want to waste any yarn and I don't like weaving in ends.

I've experimented a bit - I have the opportunity because I made smaller skeins for this project. First of all I used the method given in Stefanie Japel's tutorial, which overlaps the ends. The resulting join is thicker than the yarn itself, which may not be so obvious with a closer knit but I have a very open knit here and the join did show.

So I tried trimming back one ply so that only two plies were overlapping. Once twisted together it's quite a convincing join, even before felting.

Then as per all other spit splice tutorials, spit into your hand and rub the join between your palms to secure it. If you don't go too far with the felting, it retains that 'plied' look. This time the join is really invisible, even with very open stitches.

Here's progress with my Twinkle. After one false start (due to a mistake only spotted several rows later) and the size being a bit big (The knitting was coming a different gauge to my swatch...?) I re-started and now have about 8" of the body done.

Cowell knitting a cowl?

Thanks to Mum for this magazine clipping (and my sister for the heading), apparently the image has done the rounds on Twitter so you may have seen it. 

Sounds like good news, a bit more time knitting and purling and a little less time manufacturing pop stars is good news for everyone I think. The only thing that niggles is that first sentence in the pink box which implies that knitting isn't cool!

Dyeing to cast on

Issue 24 of The Wheel has a lovely article by Libby Kingscote about mixing colours. She uses Ashford's merino / silk mix in vanilla (pure white undyed) and one of her recipes is for a teal. Spun very fine, this would be perfect for my Twinkle.  More about the spinning here.

I made a slightly bluer mix - 3 parts blue to one part yellow.

The variegation that you can see in the last picture is a happy accident. When I first popped the skeins in the dye I forgot to untwist them. I untwisted them but the paler patches remain.

A sunny day to dry them, they're now finishing off with weights to straighten.

1200 yards spun and plied!

Wouldn't it be great to have an odometer fitted to your wheel to keep count of the miles treadled? Mine has worked very hard over the last few weeks making 2400 yards of singles.

2-plied it measures in at around 30 WPI. It looks silky (it's 80% merino, 20% silk) very thin and nice and consistent. I'm very very pleased!

After plying the first two bobbins of singles, making skeins and doing some maths I found that I had about 880 yards (from 130g). It's difficult to know for sure how much is needed for the pattern but I've plumped for 1200 yards and so I settled down to spin half as much again.

Which I've just finished. This is my 1200 yards of merino/silk, the finest I've made and the most I've spun in one go too.

These are small skeins (100 turns each = 166 yards) Next step is the dye bath and I want to make sure that the dye can get to all of the yarn.

Woolly Friday

Wooly Wednesday comes round so quickly (and then whooshes by before I realise). This is my second less alliterative Woolly Friday in a row.

Since last time I've finished two spin / knit projects that I'm very proud of. TheWater Sprite socks that I've posted about so many times are now done! These pictures are all on Flickr here. I enjoyed spinning the singles by spindle, slower but very relaxing.

After Christmas I decided to make a present for a friend who had donated several fleeces to Mum and me. After some dyeing experiments, I made a lacy cowl that I was really happy with. More pictures including me modelling it are here

Since then I've started a project that I couldn't wait to start. This is Twinkle and I need lots of very fine yarn. This is the finest yarn that I'll have made and it's taking an age. But very enjoyable.

spinning fine yarn - when to stop?!

I've been spinning for Twinkle  most days and the first bobbin is looking pretty full now. I'm sure that if necessary I could pack the rest of the first 100g onto that bobbin before it started to foul the flyer.

But here lies the problem. Although the pattern specifies two skeins of 800m per 100g skein for my size,

a. I'm not sure how many yards I've made until I've plied and wound a skein and
b. I don't want to spin 200g if I only need just over half that. I notice that two skeins will also make the next two sizes up and  the next size down only needs one skein. So I'm assuming my size only needs one of the 800m skeins plus a bit of the second.

Running out of yarn isn't usually a problem with a spin / knit project because you just spin some more (it's not such good practice but I sometimes spin a bit, knit a bit, spin a bit etc). But here I'm going to dye these skeins of wool and so I really have to dye all the yarn I'm going to use in one go.

The second and nicer thing is that as you become more and more confident about drafting very fine singles, you find the wheel going faster and faster. (The finer the singles, the more twist they eat up).

Initially this means switching to the fastest ratio, and after that, working the right leg faster and faster.

To save my knee giving out prematurely I've treated my wheel to some high speed kit. Having converted it to double-drive, this means a small high speed whorl. Also special high-speed bobbins with a smaller whorl. The latter is important because for double-drive to work properly, the whorl on the bobbin needs to be a different size to the whorl you're using on the flyer.

Now it's whizzing along and I'm back to the more usual steady treadling speed!