I finished the first part of the BFL lace weight. I was able to get almost 900 yards from almost 4 ounces. This is being spun on my Fricke using the 8.7:1 ratio whorl. This is project that I'm doing half on the wheel and half on the drop spindle. I think they're going to be pretty indistiguishable but we'll have to wait and see. If anything, I think the drop spindle spun will be better because I have to make sure there is absolutely enough twist to avoid dropping the drop spindle.
I have to say, this drop spindle project has been the best public relations tool ever. I think I've convinced about 5 people to take up spinning by working on this project in public. It's also opened up some wonderful conversations with non-fiber people. Fun.
If you extrapolate it out, this skein works out to about 3,600 yards to the pound or about 26 wraps per inch. That's a little more than 2 miles worth of yarn. To get some yarny perspective, Jaeggerspun Zephyr is 5040 yards to the pound; Baby Ull is 1,645; Silky Wool is 1,790 and Cascade 220 is 1,005. It's about what I was aiming for in my attempt to spin a true lace weight. If all goes well, when I'm done I should have about 1,800 yards which should give me plenty for a nice large shawl, even a Shetland-type shawl if I want to do that.
I got some pictures taken finally yesterday and tried to get them posted but there was some problem with Blogger.
While I was working on some stuff yesterday, I was watching some old movies. One of them was a really weird movie called, "The Villain Still Pursued Her." Came out in 1940 with people like Alan Mowbray, Buster Keaton, and Margaret Hamilton (the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz movie). If you click on the link above, you'll see a plot description but the better description is at the bottom of the page with the User Review. This is a satire on the melodramatic dramas out there and is so bad that it's hysterical - by the way, it's bad on purpose. Basically, every moment that could be overacted is overacted and every contrivance is used, all the way from the beginning of the movie which finds a newly widowed mother and her beautiful daughter discussing how their husband/father had left them with little money and the mortgage is coming due. The slimey lawyer tries to convince them that the land owner is going to kick them out. In reality, he is trying to get the beautiful daughter to marry him. Fast forward to the daughter finding out that the handsome young land owner is kind and marries him. On the wedding day, the young man declares that he never drinks and the new young wife says, that's great because no lips that have touched the demon liquor will ever touch my lips. The lawyer realizes this is his in and tricks the young man into taking a drink, which turns him into a raging alcoholic. And it continues from there. Definitely worth a viewing if you're up for a laugh.
In getting ready for the Heritage Knitting Retreat, I decided I should probably get my silk beaded purse finished. This is one of those projects that started out just to try out how the Gudebrod silk would work in a 19th century reproduction purse that would have originally used silk thread. I learned a lot experimenting with the materials for this project. Things like sizing for silk thread. A is small, FFF is large (FFF is like smaller fingering weight). "A" is thin, like thread thin, really thin.
I love the feel of the silk with the beads and would highly recommend you trying it if you have any desire to knit a beaded purse. The thread is softer than mercerized cotton and accommodates the beads much more easily, although it will go a little hinky if it snags on a bead. It only happend to me once and I used almost an entire tube of 11/0 beads. It wasn't too bad, just not something that happens with the mercerized cotton.
I've been working for quite a while on spinning a truely lace-weight yarn out of some Blue-faced Leicester. It was my first project on my Fricke wheel and it's been a whole lot of spinning. A.Whole.Lot.of.Spinning. Now part of this roving has been spun on my Ashford drop spindle (which I've currently lost sight of - I know it's here somewhere) but the majority of it has been worked on the wheel. I have no idea what the yardage is going to be but I suspect it's going to be in the neighborhood of about 1,200 yards. 1,200 yards is actually 2,400 yards plus plying so it's really 3,600 yards of spinning. Like I said, a bunch of spinning.
It's also been quite the learning experience. Even though BFL is a longer stapled wool, when you're spinning this finely, it takes a whole lot more twist in the singles than you realize. I've hit patches where I obviously didn't have enough twist in the singles. It would be interesting to know what happened during those periods of spinning to make me not be paying enough attention.
I haven't posted anything yet about the cotton roving I bought from the Woolery booth in Lexington. The color is called Terra Cotta. It's dyed, not one of the natural colors, but I'm thinking I may ply it with the natural coyote color. The natural colors darken when you finish them and I think it might look nice with this. I've been spinning this on the fastest whorl of my Kromski Minstrel using my own modified version of the long draw. I find this modified version to be much easier to control than a proper long draw. I'm sure it's just because I haven't practiced enough with it but this seems to work fine for what I'm doing. Here's the start of the bobbin. I'm not spinning it super, super fine but it should work out to a heavier lace weight sort of yarn. I'm wondering if I can actually get enough spun for a summer top before it gets cold again. That's my challenge, should I choose to accept it. And will I accept it? I'll let you know along about September time : ).