Monday, February 05, 2007


BFL Top (Blue Face Leicester)


8 oz purchased
at the NwRSA in Tacoma* last year from Janice of "dyelots!"; she kettle dyed it herself. At this point in my spinning career (snicker) I hadn't spun with BFL and wanted to try it out.

I began spinning on January 22nd (after finishing the CVM) and plied it on January 29th. Before washing, I had two hanks measuring 415 yards and 390 yards. It shrank significantly so I probably have about 750 yards total and it's 12 wpi.

I didn't enjoy spinning this as much as I had hoped; it wasn't really top anymore, as it had been dyed after the combing process and had a lot of mats and slubs. Spinning this was very similar to spinning the Targhee from awhile ago (see December 1st, 2006 entry) and the resulting plied fiber was sproingy (is that a word?) and bouncy when 2-plied. I originally test-plied it (see the little sample hank on top of the roving ) as a chained single** but decided the colors should be fine as a 2-ply and so ended up with better yardage. The colors are actually brighter as a 2-ply than in the chain, so I'm happy I went that way.

*NwRSA Conference rotates between three states, so every third year we have it in Tacoma, WA. where Peggy and I can go for at least the weekend.

**Carrie, of The Barefoot Cobbler, (Hi Carrie!) asked in a comment for our January 18th posting about 'chained singles;' a chained single, sometimes referred to as Navajo-plying'* is a method of three-plying with one single (instead of three singles on three bobbins) by creating a loop with the single and then pulling the single strand through it. It's like a ginormous crochet chain that is done with the hands instead of a crochet hook. The loops may be as large as the arm can stretch or as small as needed to keep the different colors by themselves, which makes this technique perfect for space-dyed rovings. There is an excellent article called "Plying Chained Singles" by Dodie Rush in the Spring 2006 issue of Spin-Off magazine (an Interweave Press publication.) Peggy and I taught ourselves to chain the single by following Dodie's instructions before we went to Conference, and then took a class to refine our technique. It's a simple method and well worth learning!

*Dodie says in her article that "Though plying chained singles is normally referred to as "Navajo-plying," questions have been raised about the origins of the term and whether or not it is accurate. Plying chained singles is a descriptive term for making a three-ply yarn from a singles yarn."


EricaLynn said...

That yarn is lovely. I keep hearing good things about BFL, can't wait until my wheel is ready. When you spin, do you usually just spin whatever makes you happy, or do you pick a project and spin the yarn specifically for it?

Rebecca said...

Ericalynn, thanks for your kind words! In answer, Peggy and I have finally started choosing fiber with projects in mind. Initially we were totally swayed by color and then came the type of fiber and then color + fiber ~ we're having lots of fun just learning how to spin. The problem is that now there's less time to knit and the hand-spun is stacking up. We both just started a Faroese shawl using our hand-stash, so you'll see those soon. I hope.

Linda "K" said...

I bow, I scrape, I salaam at your feet and am not worthy...truly! You two are a runaway train, a Mac truck skidding on ice...your output is so prodigious! You can always tell the lovely and talented Sandi to move over at Fiber Frenzy and start SELLING your handspun y'know!!!! Just to make way for more....

See ya at Ferals?

Naomi said...

As usual I'm in awe. I'll have lots of questions for you as I'm taking my first spinning class/lesson tomorrow. Oh, I love your word "ginormous"!