Last Sunday was my spinning day at the Guild. I look forward to this day all month and anticipation of going and seeing my friends there prompts me to do more spinning at home and to think more about what I’d like to spin and how. This month was a dyeing session aimed at teaching us to dye a self striping yarn. In preparation for the class we needed to have 120g of either hand spun or commercial yarn. While a commercial sock yarn that would be pretty much guaranteed to knit up accurately was tempting to buy I have all that wool sitting in the shed and under our carport and commercial yarn is not in the budget at the moment so I pushed myself to spin my own yarn.

I filled one bobbin a week over 2 weeks by doing a little bit each day and on the Friday before spinning my yarn was washed and hung to dry. It’s about 15-16 WPI – I am getting finer! It is still not a “smooth” yarn but in that aspect I am also getting better and I am not sure I ever want a truly smooth yarn – I want yarn that looks hand spun (for now at least). At the Guild I made my skein into a yarn cake using a swift and ball winder and it was bliss using them – I really want a ball winder….in an excessive mood I want one that measures the yardage too but I am so far off a plain ball winder that it is only pipe dreaming!

Big beautiful yarn cake – centre pull ball of handspun

After we had wound the balls we then set out 2 chairs 40 feet apart and wound the yarn around them:

Once all the yarn was stretched out we tied them off very tightly every 10 feet – ie 4 ties – and then proceeded to dip each section in the chosen colours. The dry yarn was dipped into dye mixed with boiling water and left to sit while we stretched out the plastic wrap. Once the wrap was ready we squeezed out the yarn as much as we could and wrapped it up:

When all the colours were done we put them into zip lock bags and steamed them for about 45 minutes. When I got back to my sisters’ I washed out the excess dye and hung it up to dry.

It was calling to me the whole time, hanging in the bathroom I just had to keep going back and looking at it, in the back of the car on the way home it kept falling into my line of vision and I showed it off a few times to both appreciative and unappreciative audiences.

Almost as soon as we got home on Wednesday – and after I had unpacked the car which took a great deal of disapline – I took the kids over to my mother-in-laws and set up some of her dining chairs 40 feet apart (I don’t think there is enough room to do this in La Bella Casa) and wound a centre pull ball. The kids ran amok trying to pull the yarn off the chairs, jumping over and under it and my mother-in-law was terrific and very supportive of me choosing to do this at dinnertime and with 2 travel weary kids!

This is what came out:

Of course I had to cast on straight away so I found some 2.75mm needles and it’s started:

Lovely to knit with and made by me from flicking, spinning, plying, washing, dyeing and now knitting! I LOVE the process and I hope I enjoy the result!

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