It is already past the middle of January, ack! I cannot believe that three weeks are gone. Fortunately for me, these have been fairly productive weeks. I received my January box from Paradise Fibers, it was a Breed Sampler Box! How very exciting! Since I am going to be teaching several classes on spinning this Spring I began thinking about the Journaling that is recommended for spinners. At first keeping track of what you are spinning sounds like a real pain. My excuse was “I just want to get good at spinning before I begin recording my results, it all looks bad right now.”
As a matter of fact, the ‘bad’ spinning that I didn’t like tends to get the most compliments. Who knows, right? Since these first heady…well okay 21 months….of spinning I have come to realize a few things:
A) I cannot just keep creating yarn, eventually I’m going to have to weave/crochet/knit it so that I can figure out what kind of yarn I (and possibly mom) like working with. (Thank You whomever came up with the ‘Half-Granny Shawl’ pattern it looks great no matter what yarn I use.)
B) If I don’t know what it looks like knitted (lace & cable) and crocheted (possibly eventually woven) then I won’t know what I want to use it for. (My goodness, all of those people saying sample, sample sample, are on to something! *gasp*)
C) I won’t actually remember what kind of fiber that is a couple of months later when it’s in an unmarked skein and I’m trying to work with it. (Okay, so I won’t actually remember what kind of fiber it is when I finish spinning it sometimes…did I mention I don’t have the best memory?)
D) By Gum, Journaling Might Be the Answer! (actually journaling is the answer as well as labeling with water-proof labels.)
Given this hard won knowledge, but boy I have some really pretty skeins..if only I knew what they were made of other than ‘wool’…oh well, granny shawls here I come, I have decided to begin to journal my spinning starting with my January Paradise Fibers Box.
As of writing this post (okay last week) I had split each tube of fiber in half, keeping half in the tube so that I can have samples for myself and to show my students. Half of each tube was spun, plied from a center pull ball, the twist was set. I decided to spin 1/4 of my Targhee sample since I was given twice as much of that fiber and I saw something about spinning sock yarn from Targhee (I’m going to work on my consistency before tackling that). My Targhee still has not been completely spun, I did start but work got in the way.
Before spinning each sample I took a staple of the fiber, taped it to a note card with the Breed, date, where I got it from, the wheel and settings I was using. Then as I was spinning, usually near the end (when I remembered) I took off a sample of spun fiber, let it ply onto itself, then taped that onto the note card labeled ‘2-ply unfinished’. *In theory if I did this when I was spinning and referred back to my ‘plyback sample’ I would be able to create a more consistent yarn, maybe in the next two years.* Since finishing the yarns I have managed to Knit and Crochet two of them as well as blocking these pieces.
Okay, in all honesty I had to wash and block them twice. The Paradise Fibers Box came with a sample of Unicorn Power Wash, I was really excited since I have been wanting to order from them but I didn’t want to invest a lot in case I didn’t like it (boy am I glad I waited). When I washed and blocked my samples the first time, I was really excited with how they looked, but I started getting a headache which was odd for me. After a bit of thought, especially with how sudden the headache was, I realized that it was the Unicorn Power Wash that was causing the headache. I gave the samples a thorough scrub with Dawn and hot water, then rinsed them again. There was still too much scent. I wound up soaking them overnight with a lemon scented handsoap I had on hand, they are fine now. However all of this washing caused one of my samples to ‘bloom’ a bit more than I would like but the halo effect is really pretty.
Once these samples are dry I intend to tape them onto a piece of paper, along with the sample card I made earlier, and put these into a sleeve to go in a three-ring binder (thanks mom for that Idea!). I do plan on knitting *lace and cable* and crocheting each of the samples, so that I have a comprehensive journal of these fiber samples that I can refer back to in the future. Okay, so I’m mostly crocheting to use up the last of each of my little skeins, I am better at crochet so I can make that sample fit any size I need it to. I will also say that this sampling is a great way for me to up my knitting game, I was terrified of cables and lace before I realized that plain knit-one-side-purl-the-other wasn’t going to cut it. I am almost positive that my ‘lace’ stinks but until I let a knitter see it I’ll live in ignorance.
This entire experience has been an absolute blast. While I know it will be harder to find crafting time while I’m working I still like knowing that I have a specific project I am crafting toward, and a deadline really…April will be here before you know it!