Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Bounciest Yarn

Last year when I was in Kentucky, I was given a Polypay fleece.  I was going to use it as my Tour de Fleece project but didn't get too far on it.  I've recently pulled it out again and started working on it again.  I put it through an initial wash last year but the tips were still quite dirty so I decided to flick open the tips and wash it in batches which has really done the trick. 
The stuff in the basket is how it came out when I washed it in large batches.  The stuff in the box is washed after flicking the ends open and ready to be combed.  Once it is combed, it's a loverly juberly fluffy mass.
I spun a little sample the other day and was shocked at how bouncy the sample was.  Just laid out, it was about 30 inches but it stretched to over 36 inches.  I took it to knit night so I could show everyone this bouncy yarn.  The funny thing is that, while you can really get some bounce when you card and spin a wool yarn worsted, you don't usually get that same kind of performance when the fiber has been combed and spun short draw.  This sample was combed and spun short draw and still had that kind of bounce.  This post has a picture of the lock (the one on the right).

I'm spinning it on my Kromski Minstrel on the 8.5:1 whorl so it's kind of medium speed.  As usual, I have it set up to spin with scotch tension and I've got a fairly hard draw in.  I'm trying to get enough twist in to hold it together well but not enough for it to lose its soft and bounce.  I am planning to ply using the next higher ratio of 12:1 to help that process, too.  I'm still learning a lot about ratio and how to use it to best effect so that may change once I get to that part of the process.
Right now I'm spinning it pretty fine, although I may try to 3 or 4 ply it for a heavier finished yarn.  I don't know, though. I think I like the lace weight.  I'll have to experiment a little with that, too.  I would love to have something made with it before I go back to Kentucky this year.  Wouldn't that be fun? 

On the knitting front, I finally made the big step and ripped back the body on the bohus.  I ended up decreasing by about 30 stitches which should equate to about 5 inches and I think it's going to be much better now.  From the finished body, here's where I am now:
I never seem to be able to get a good photo of this sweater but here's where I'm at.  I got about 3-4 inches done this weekend and, of course, the stockinette goes really fast in the round so I think now that I've got it working, it won't take long now. 

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