Monday, October 15, 2012

Spin U: Art Yarn Week 7

In SpinU this past week, we learned how to do "thick/thin" singles -- essentially art yarn. Most beginners can do this type of yarn because they haven't learned how to consistently draft yet. But, as a beginner's skillset increases and their drafting becomes more consistent, it becomes harder to do something like "thick / thin" yarn.

So, this past Saturday, we learned just how to do this technique. And I have to say....I dislike it thus far although there were some in my class that absolutely LOVED it.

The basic gist of doing this technique is to set up your wheel for the "thick" part, so using a slow ratio whorl. Then draft your "normal" way, but every now and then, "jerk" a chunk of fiber out of your passive hand (and slowly add twist & structure to it), then go back to whatever your normal drafting. The best type of fiber to use is something that is slightly felty that you would have trouble normally spinning with because of the felted chunks (perhaps due to dye'ing). Luckily, I had some from a dye'ing attempt gone awry.

Thick Thin Roving - Felted

Take the fiber and split LENGTHWISE down the roving and start spinning. Eventually, you get something that looks like this on the bobbin:

Thick Thin on Bobbin

It was definitely a challenge to work on this project, and I had to stop frequently because my wrists were getting tired and "jerking" chunks of fiber out somewhat taxed my wrists a bit until I started pinning the roving down against my leg with my passive hand. Eventually, I finished this bobbin (slated to be a "single" of thick/thin yarn), and wound it off onto the niddy noddy.

Thick Thin on Niddy Noddy

Sandy, our instructor, had advised us for our "single", that we wash it under tension, so my PVC niddy noddy was perfect as I could just wash the whole thing. The challenge was to find something "big" enough where I could soak the whole of the niddy noddy in the wash.
Afterwards, it came out looking like:

Thick Thin after washing2

Thick Thin after washing
Overall, thick/thin yarn is not my thing. I can see where this technique is useful and what you can do with roving that came out slightly (or a lot) felty that wouldn't be appropriate for regularly spinning. It's good knowledge to have, and something to help change things up a bit in your spinning.
While I am not overly pleased with the result -- I'm not a fan of art yarn anyways) --- I think that the resulting thick/thin yarns would be good for yarn hair falls. But it's not something that I would use regularly -- I almost never use art yarn in my normal everyday knitting.

On our next class, we learn how to take some of the thick/thin singles we created and ply them into a two-ply yarn.