Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spin Journal #8: Shawl of Many Samples

I've been playing with the new Sonata to get used to it quickly, as I'm taking it to Black Sheep Gathering in three weeks. Since the fastest way to get used to a wheel is to spin on it, I tackled the rest of the samples from last year's color blending workshop. As I spun, I started to think about what I could do with all the samples and leftovers I have accumulated over 14 years of spinning. There's a lot, because I usually just "tag 'em and bag 'em," then throw them in a drawer in the studio. The drawer is full to overflowing with singles, 2-ply, 3-ply, and other weird bits of yarn. I need to do something with them, but what?

As I spun, the idea finally came to me: using the Danish WrapTie Shawl pattern in the current issue of Spin-Off, knit a "shawl of many samples" out of all the samples. I quit spinning, and spent about an hour sorting through the many samples, using the ball winder and swift to roll everything plied into balls for knitting, and the singles into balls for adding onto the yarns on the wheel. Once I moved the singles over to the bobbins (I ended up with 2 full ones), I Navajo-plied the singles into a nice 3-ply, DK-weight yarn. A bit of "aggressive finishing" in hot soapy water with a plunger, then a rinse and hanging to dry, and my myriad samples are starting to knit into an interesting shawl.

So far, so good. Maybe a little heavy on the brown Romney? Lincoln? I spun some time in the last century. As it is, I don't have quite enough "sample" fiber to knit the entire shawl, so I've had to do a bit of judicious fiber buying to round out the amount of yarn required for this project. I found what I was looking for at the annual "Spinning @ the Winery" in Livermore: a luscious dark green CVM/tussah/silk noil roving that will complement the brown. Then I found some rainbow-hued Targhee roving, so that came home too. All this new fiber gives me an additional 8 ounces of variegated fiber, which should end up in nearly enough (along with all the samples) to complete this shawl.