Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Yarn Along - I Don't Understand How This Stuff Keeps Happening To Me

That's always Maisie's big line, but luckily this hasn't happened to me before.  I've always loved the yarn I've spun.  Wait, loved?  Past tense?  What happened?


28 ounces, ready to ply.  Plying day is always my favorite.  I love to ply (apparently I'm in the minority?).  I love to see my yarn really take shape.  Yesterday was the day!


I pair up all my balls of singles, thicker and thinner, trying to make sure that the finished yarn is as consistent throughout as possible.


At this point I was still thinking the extra "goodies" in her yarn was my biggest problem.  You really should click to biggify.  And you good spinners out there are probably already starting to raise your eyebrows...  Does that look like 1/2 of a worsted weight yarn?  Does it look like it has enough twist in it to be a durable enough yarn for a sweater, especially a hard wearing barn sweater?

Um, that'd be a no.

I realized pretty early I'd blown it.  No wonder it was taking so long to spin a worsted weight yarn.  It wasn't worsted weight.  In fact, it's probably closer to sport weight.  I pulled off a sample and washed it, hoping for the best.  I'd blown it.

I sat there dumbfounded for a bit and finally decided to try a three ply instead of two.  Three ply yarns are nice yarns, wear well, good for cables because with their "roundness" they show stitch definition better than a "flatter" two ply.  The three ply felt too thick :-(.

Just about the time I was starting to hyperventilate, Tim called.

"What's going on?"

"Maisie's yarn is giving me fits."

"Is it bucking and kicking and trying to bite you?"

"Yeah, pretty much."

"Well, that's Maisie for you!" .......and I had to laugh.  Eventually.  And kind of weakly.  But he was right.

I knit a sample with each washed yarn.  I didn't like the three ply sample much at all.  Stella looked at it and agreed.  I knit the two ply sample and didn't really like it either.  It was too thin and probably could have even gone down a needle size.  The three ply was knit with a size 6 and the two ply was knit with a 3.


The three ply is on the left and the two ply is on the right.  See how the three ply yarn looks round?


After washing and blocking both samples, I like both a little better, but still not a lot.  The three ply is a little thicker than I wanted and the two ply is much thinner than I wanted.  I stewed about it half the night and am still undecided on which way I want to go.  I think these are my only options, but maybe someone smarter than me has a different idea?


In the meantime, here is Maisie demonstrating her normal morning routine (yes, she's biting the gate).  I only feed grain to the lambs and the pensioners.  Everyone else just gets hay.  Somehow Maisie tricked me into sneaking her a handful of grain this winter and now she's trying to train me to let her have more. Interestingly, she stills wags her tail when I hand feed her, just like a nursing lamb.  She's probably figured out that keeps me under her spell ;-).


Here she's butting the gate, really trying to make her point!


And Hank, having made his morning loop around the house and yard, has come back to see what's going on and to try and help me regain order take a nap.

I can't even remember what I was reading this week :-o.

Joining in with Ginny.



34 comments:

Tyche's Minder said...

Oh oh. Looking forward to hearing people's suggestions here. I seem to remember that you are a chunky-wool-natural-colors kind of knitter, and this was planned as a Maisie project, so you can reject all these suggestions accordingly, but...

If I were in this bind, and I had my heart set on a very specific pattern for which neither 2-ply Maisie, nor 3-ply Maisie fit, I'd consider plying her with something else. Either a heavier single ply from someone else mixed with 1 single of Maisie, or a finer single ply from someone else mixed with the 2 ply of Maisie. Or find a different pattern with a tighter gauge for the 2-ply. Or punt on knitting altogether and weave something! That's actually what I would probably do. Don't you need a Maisie throw?

Michelle said...

I'd say knit a sweater in Aran or sport. I think you'll wear and love either when all is said and done. For a hard-wearing barn sweater, I'd lean toward the three-ply....

Kelly Ramstack said...

I haven't yet tried to spin yarn for a particular project or weight of yarn but I know how long it takes to spin so I can imagine your angst. I once spun a whole roving without enough twist in it so it just kept breaking apart as I tried to ply it. I will NEVER do that again!

I need orange said...

Chuckling over Tim's question about Maisie's yarn, misbehaving..... :-)

Tell me what's wrong with the 3-ply? What does "too thick" mean, in the context of a warm sweater? I think it's gorgeous....... If "too thick" and "too stiff" are kinda the same, maybe slightly bigger needles?

I agree the 2-ply wants smaller needles.

'Twere it I, I think I might be going for 3-ply, and if there's not enough for a sweater, make a vest? That would help keep you warm in the barn, even if it didn't cover your arms? (And less bend-ability wouldn't matter?)

ps -- in awe of your amazing production-spinning capabilities! You go, girl!

Erin Kate said...

i think it's lovely! don't be so hard on yourself !

Cappy said...

I'm with Tyche's Minder... spin something else from someone else and make a "rag" yarn... Like those rag socks? A light ply and a darker ply...

Laura at Beehive Rugs said...

I'm so impressed with your spinning. I think they both look wonderful. I guess ignorance is bliss. Maise is very funny. She is very loved I think.

RuusVerd said...

That's a bummer. :-( Have you tried double knitting with the two ply? It won't change the yarn, and it will put a serious dent in the yardage, but it'll make the fabric thicker... Otherwise all I can think of is to ply it with something else.

Michelle said...

Though I don't have the experience to be commenting, I will say that I like the look of the yarn, on both samples!

Bonnie K said...

I don't know a darn thing about knitting or sheep and yet I just love your blog.

MaryAnn said...

I totally agree with Bonnie K. I do not look at hand knit garments the same after reading about your yarn production.

Lady Locust said...

Well, I don't knit, but I do stitch. If you want something in between, could you actually ply 2 strands and a 3rd mystery strand that was thinner??? And I am glad Miss Maisie is getting you trained:) Life would be pointless without an objective like training your human.
Have a super evening.

Lori Skoog said...

Go for the thinner...it will still be warm. Don't give up! Way to go Maisie!

fjord girl said...

Eye candy - both. I would love to knit with both, I might be slightly more drawn to the 3 ply...you really are a wizard at spinning and with all this time and effort- can't believe you would even have time to read :)

Bee Lady said...

Having spun yarn for years and still knowing nothing about yarn, which is sad really, I would go with the three ply. However, having said that, to someone that does know about yarn, you are not really happy with either one. And you won't be happy with them. So send them my way and start over!!! Seriously, they both look beautiful and most people wouldn't know the difference. Sometimes, when we are so into the details of something, we don't look at the end result, and I'm sure the end result will be beautiful no matter what yarn you use. That Maisie is ornery!

Cindy Bee

Lisa Smith said...

I'm so sorry Maisie's yarn has been giving you such challenges. I'm a knitter who knows nothing about the actual creation of yarn, and am limited to purchasing it already nicely labeled and ready to use. I am now in absolute awe of how much work and attention to detail you put into your spinning. I know in the end you will arrive at what your heart truly desires - - a wonderful Maisie sweater. Now that's something you can't find at a yarn shop!

Andee said...

With my hand spun yarn I either knit it up as a single or I Navajo ply it. It is rare that I do a two ply. I don't know why that is just how I role. I personally think the 3 ply looks great especially thinking of the weight of a sweater will have when it is finished. On another note.... I have been making my sweaters (in general) with thicker yarn for the body and thinner for the sleeves. So if you are making a barn sweater you can use the three ply for the front and back and then two ply for the sleeves. Since the sleeves don't have as much drape. I think I've gone on enough. In the end it is wool and it is Maisie's wool and it will bring you lots of joy anyway you finish it :)

thecrazysheeplady said...

I've enjoyed reading the suggestions as they've come in!

I did have a pattern I really wanted to use, but I'm not opposed to looking at other patterns...or trying to create my own. The sadness with the too thick yarn is I wanted a more every day sweater, not one that I would only want to wear on super cold days. I do have my heart set on a sweater, mostly because of Maisie wearing all the "sweaters" herself when she was a baby :-).

thecrazysheeplady said...

Too thick as in too warm. It's actually quite soft and comfy...just probably hotter than I wanted. The three ply is definitely the more "correct" yarn.

thecrazysheeplady said...

I'm thinking the double knitting would make it thicker than a three ply knit single? Or maybe not. Interesting idea!

thecrazysheeplady said...

I don't. I listen to books on tape while I spin ;-).

thecrazysheeplady said...

Hand knits are special :-).

thecrazysheeplady said...

You know, that's something that did finally dawn on me around 4:30 this morning...that I can knit this sweater the way "Maisie" wants it knit and try again with the next shearing. Hopefully she'll be around for so many years that I'll eventually get it right!

thecrazysheeplady said...

The thinner sleeve thing hit my mind too in the wee hours. I'm glad you mentioned this as I was wondering if I was crazy to think about it.

LannieK said...

Morning Amazing Sara! Beautiful, beautiful spinning! They are both nice plied. For a sweater w/cables, I'd lean towards the 3 ply ~ it is very nice ~ and w/ sz 6 needles it's kinda perfect to show the texture. I do like Andee's idea of a lighter weight for use on the sleeves, and with 3/4 length sleeves, that would be nice. Miss Maisie will try to bite it which ever way you knit it :-)

Anchor Cottage said...

The 3 ply would make a good lap throw to keep you warm when you're working in the wool house!

Susan Mckee-Nugent said...

YES to Andee's suggestion! I have done this and it works. The 3 ply will have you sweating buckets once you start working in the barn. I like the 2 ply and just what DOES Maisie say about how to knit it.......haha She IS a piece o'work!! Gotta love her.

Gemma Garner said...

I know you probably felt like pulling your hair out on plying day but I found your post and photos really relaxing :) I thinking about learning to spin my own yarn this year - I spoke to a lady spinning hers at a show and fell in love with the idea. I like that your sheep have their own personalities!

sophy0075 said...

I think your 3ply would make a great jumper- good and warm for a wintry day.

But don't let Maisie know - she would *insist* on a special feeding!

karen said...

I think both are lovely :) I hope you decide what you want in the end, I think both would be fine. I'm seriously considering ripping out the bottom of my orange sweater because I just don't like the way it looks, feels, or lays.

thecrazysheeplady said...

And slap a muddy hoof print on it!

thecrazysheeplady said...

I just wish it (the personality) would show through on their yarns ;-). Although, that's probably why the B. Willard sweater was so fun to spin and knit and I wear it all the time :-D.

thecrazysheeplady said...

That's what's great about knitting. You can always get a "do-over" :-). That ripping only hurts for a second.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Maybe it is not a barn sweater after all...maybe it is something else..a scarf and hat? You will figure it out. I know how it is when something is just not quite right....I have a hard time being happy with something that isn't like I want it! :)

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin