Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Frank, A hiccup in our Relationship

Frank and I had a small hiccup in our relationship this past weekend. I was spinning him on Nona, at a ratio of 11:1. After spinning 1 ounce, I decided that I would put together a plyback test for 2ply, 3ply, and 4ply and then put them into my spinner study book.

This I dutifully did, and stapled them to a 4x6 card and labeled them. Then I decided to double check the weight of the yarn, using the double-over method.

It works thusly: You take your yarn, double it over, and then slide it through the hole of your knitting needle measuring guide, and that gives you a GUESTIMMATE on the actual weight of the yarn without needing a WPI tool. (Now, a WPI tool is more accurate, but you need a lot of plied yarn to test)

So, I slipped in the double strand of yarn, which gave me an approximate needle size to use. Then correlated that information to my handy-dandy chart of WPI that lists the weights and the approximate needle sizes to use different weights.

(TANGENT:I learned this nifty trick via Spin Control: Techniques for Spinning the Yarns You Wantby Amy King.)

I discovered the following about my handspun:
2plies - heavy fingering
3plies - Sport
4plies - DK weight

Of course, this totally made sense, because I had just finished plying up a 4ply cable which ended up being a sport weight yarn, and nearly everything I've 3plied on 11:1 is primarily a sport weight yarn.

HOWEVER, what I wanted was to spin Frank for an Aran weight @ 3plies so this was problematic. I didn't want to do a 5ply. However, as it was late in the evening, I decided that I would leave it, and tackle the problem in the morning.

They say that a problem can be best dealt with by sleeping on it, and letting the idea come to you. And, boy did it ever come to me. Somewhere in the land between sleep and awake, I realized that if I just changed the wheel ratio, I will be okay. After all, Judith Mackenzie teaches that if you make adjustments to the wheel (like your ratio, tension, drive band), you will be able to adjust the fiber diameter without changing anything you're doing. And who am I to argue with Judith?!

Of course, this idea wouldn't leave me alone, and it woke me up completely. (Luckily, I had a good 8 hour sleep at this point). So, first thing, I went over to my wheel, changed the ratio out to 7.25:1, and spun up about 1/2 ounce.

I did another plyback test:
2-plies - sport / DK weight
3-plies - aran
4-plies - heavy worseted

And stapled those onto a 4x6 card.

Then I compared the 3-ply with Cascade worseted weight yarn that I used to knit my Ribby Cardi. AND they were nearly identical in diameter and appearance. My handspun was just a smidge thinner, but not by much. I can work with it.

Now, Frank and I are back on track, and I'm still very much in love with him.

I'll still need do a full swatch when I have more handspun on the bobbins to do a true 3ply and a knitted swatch, but this change in ratio puts me on better track for how I want to spin Frank.