Monday, October 8, 2012

Spin U: Trimester 1

I've been attending SpinUniversity over at Purlescence Yarns for the past several weeks, and so far, so good. We're concentrated on spinning worseted spun yarn, and I'm learning quite a bit about how to improve my spinning in a lot of technical ways.

  • getting more consistent yarn in the singles
  • how to ply better.
    • plying doesn't always fix certain problems and how good-in will always make make a good-out.
  • ergonomics on spinning
    • how best to hold yourself when spinning singles
    • how plying isn't ergonomic at all, but the things you can do to help mitigate it.
    • how to correctly hold your yarn during plying so that you can control the amount of twist effectively
  • how sometimes, even the best of intentions in plying will neccessitate the need to call someone to help you untangle your singles.
  • why "balanced yarns" isn't always better
  • what types of yarns are best for some types of fabrics  --- why energized yarns are better for socks or outwear
  • you don't always have to wash, full, and set your yarn. And if you spin it correctly, you don't even need to wash your yarn (unless it's dirty, of course)
Homework, in general, consists of reading and spinning a lot of singles. In class, we ply those singles so that we can get our form corrected and immediate feedback on how we're doing. Sandy's been an awesome teacher providing feedback to each individual student on what they need to improve upon. It's really a matter of practice.

We're in the 2nd trimester of SpinU right now, and I'll be posting photos and updates as we go. But for now, here's my notes regarding this past trimester.

Week 1

In Week 1, we basically went over the Greensheet for the class, the physics of spinning, then Sandy demonstrated how to actually do worsted spinning. There was a lot of practice in class, but I think most of us knew how to do it. It was just a matter of doing it ergonomically correct.

For homework, we were supposed to spin up 2 ounces of singles to ply in class. This was singles at 36-40 wpi @ 20 degree twist angle.

Week 2:

We plied it our homework in class, and I got some lovely 2-ply lace yarn.

SpinU Homework

Week 2's homework was 3 bobbins of singles but at a higher twist angle (30deg) but slightly lower WPI (32-36 wpi). This was a lot more difficult than it sounded. I had a slightly hard time with this homework, mostly due to the high twist angle, and my singles were extremely lively and had a lot of corkscrews. When I got to class, I wasn't the only one who had problems and a lot of corkscrews in our singles.

Week 3:

Sandy knew exactly what we had done "wrong" in spinning our singles and pointed it out to us-- mostly how to "not" pull when feeding the yarn versus letting it just slide through. I tried to apply this advice to the homework afterwards and it really helped.

In class, we worked on 3plying from the homework. In class, we plied our homework into a 3ply yarn -- and I ended up with yarn that was very "lively" and curled in on itself and felt like rope. I hated it. However, Sandy assures me that it's fine. I felt a little better after that, but I still hated the color. The wonderful roving that I had gotten (greens and reds) and turned into a mottled brown).

SpinU Homework

For this yarn, Sandy did recommend that I wash it after it "relaxed" after a few days, but not to full it. The washing process helps "tame" or "set" the yarn so you can knit with it. She told us about how sock yarn is super lively and if you don't wash and set the sock yarn, it becomes impossible to knit with because it'll tangle onto itself.

The particular skein would be "perfect" for sock yarn (except that it's a bit too thick), but the liveliness of the twist is perfect for sock yarns of outwear garments. But these samples aren't really "enough" to knit with as we're learning, and to which we can refer to later. So, this gives me a baseline of what I need to do for spinning for socks, which I haven't done yet because I find it intimidating.

For homework, we spun 2 bobbins of singles @ more than 30% twist, 40WPI+ (which for me was easy)

Week 4:

I missed Week 4 of class (which was mostly on how-to clean the wheel and take care of it.) So I did a make-up with Sandy. She primarily wanted to go over my plying techniques. This week's plying was much easier than the others.

SpinU Homework
At this point, we went on a 2-week break due to some scheduling with another class. Our homework was a lot more due to that fact, which I'll recount in the next post for the 2nd Trimester.