Before & After

A couple days ago I wrote about how excited I was to spin up my latest Cloudlover fiber club fiber as soon as I received it. I am a blue addict and aside from my family, there isn’t much I love more than the beach. As you can imagine the ‘Lakefront’ colorway definitely struck a cord with me.

20140706-092124-33684153.jpgI am not always the best at putting two and two together and getting, you know, four. I’m mildly embarrassed to admit that while I do have a fair amount of skills, sometimes the obvious really eludes me. One example is how long it’s taken me to learn that those white patches won’t actually be white when I spin up this wool. No, it’ll actually saturate the colors on either side of it – so the deep brown with a hint a yellow will work with the the white and spin up sandy. The dusty navy  bordered by a inch or so of white will be slate. For someone who has had art classes, who made a college career of studying the history of art, this epiphany was pretty long overdue. Better late than never, though, I suppose.

Anyhoo, I did get right to it and in no time flat I had finished spinning singles out of half the fiber.

20140706-085651-32211252.jpgNo big white patches, either. Just the perfect little lakefront-esque hues — Natalie at Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber is such a color genius.20140710-092721-34041148.jpgAnd I finished up the second half of the fiber the following day. Now this fiber is 100% Ramboulliet and it is absolutely lovely, but a fiber I’ve only used once or twice before. Spinning it on the fast flyer and at a very light weight were both new to me with this fiber, but I was feeling very good about how the singles turned out and I couldn’t wait to ply.

So after letting it rest overnight I got everything set up to ply. Let me set the stage of this for you. I really wanted to ply this (like yesterday), so I took my wheel outside where my kids wanted to play thinking I would set them up with some fun things to do in the yard so I could get the plying done lickedy split. They are awesome kids and I always do my best to communicate what our plan is — ie I’m going to do this spinning project and then I will play baseball, or I will do this art project with you now and then you will have time on your own so I can wrap up this spinning project.  Nine out of ten days we have a great balance of working on things together and separately, but this day they just weren’t having it. So I stopped to do some sunprints with them. I stopped to work on their art projects with them. I stopped to play baseball with them. It was just a whole lot of stop and go here. I’m not complaining since after all this is my job, but it did not go smoothly for any of us.

20140710-093802-34682324.jpgAnd my plied yarn… well, it was evidence of that. I don’t know if it was the stop & go of it all or my unfamiliarity with that Rambo fiber or some combination of the two, but it just was not great.

20140710-093804-34684010.jpgIt wasn’t total trash, but it wasn’t really doing the colorway just either. It was just really under-twisted.

20140710-093814-34694375.jpgIt was enough of a ‘meh’ that I didn’t even bother to get a clear photo.

That evening I posted up my work on my Tour de Fleece team pages and just mentioned that the plying on this skein was a little under-twisted and thus under-whelming. Shortly after some teammates from Team Cloudlover responded that I should try running it back through my wheel and adding some twist. I hadn’t considered trying to fix this issue, especially not via the simple avenue of running it back through my wheel. It just seemed too easy. I had never under-twisted a yarn before nor had I ever tried to correct any twist issues after plying. In addition, I was pretty skeptical that 1) it would work at all and 2) even if it did work, that I would have enough control over the twist I was adding to make the skein, you know, better. I was pretty sure I would just make a big mess. As I stared at the beautiful colors of this skein though I knew I just had to try. Who knew? Maybe fixing it was that simple. The following morning I put the skein on my swift and followed the instructions of my teammates — just attach my yarn to the leader and run it back through the wheel, adjusting the twist to my preference as I went. I took a big breath and off I went.

20140710-093808-34688097.jpgIt seemed to be going surprisingly well. By the point I took this photo, my optimism was certainly growing. I really took a long time going back through it — making sure I got just the amount of twist I wanted, just hoping it would turn out as I intended.

When I skeined it I knew it had totally, 100% worked. I washed it and hung it out in the sun to dry it asap so I could share photos (it helped that it was a windy day, too).

20140710-093810-34690536.jpgIt. Was. Magic.

20140710-093812-34692500.jpgI quite literally cannot believe the difference this simple, obvious action made.

20140710-093816-34696818.jpgSeriously — look at this!

Thanks to this easy fix I now have 460yds of a simple 2ply with perfectly eloquent twist and great balance in a gorgeous colorway – I just could not be any happier.

I also could not have a better example of why I love the Tour de Fleece. As someone who really hasn’t had any formal spinning training combined with a rather severe lack of noting the obvious, I definitely have  benefit from some incredible advice during the Tour de Fleece. Who would think transforming an under-twisted ‘meh’ skein from one you like into one you  L  O  V  E  would be as simple & obvious as running it back through your wheel to add twist? That’s the magic of the Tour de Fleece — inspiration & encouragement from talented, knowledgeable spinners. Tips & tricks that’ll change your life. An excuse to spin your absolute favorite fibers.  And should you need it, friends to even point out the obvious & cheer you on as you try something new. I just don’t think spinning gets much better than this.

23 thoughts on “Before & After

  1. TdF is awesome! I am learning so much just by watching what other people are doing, and I’m getting inspired to try new things 🙂 I did a fractal spin first which I’ve never done before, and now I’m planning to spin one single of angora and one of mulberry silk and ply them together.

    1. Oooh, I have such fun with fractal spins. I learned that last year! I can imagine an angora/mulberry silk adventure would be amazing! I would love to see it!

  2. That is beautiful. I wonder why we avoid or don’t think of the easy fix? I pass over it all the time and then eventually talk myself into doing it. We could save so much worrying…

  3. Looks great, doesn’t it. Now tell me; did you run it back through the wheel in the opposite direction to the way you plied it or the same way?

    1. I ran it through the same way I plied it. Since I was adding more twist, that seemed to be the way to go — and it worked, so I’m pretty sure that was correct!

  4. Every one of your spinning posts makes me want to get back on the wheel and get to work – I have planned a birthday purchase of the Aura ……….. so soon I will be able to make fabulous yarn like this! I love the white blending into the stuff – who would have thought? I would think it would stay white ………. duh!

  5. Wow! Your wool looks so great. Isn’t it just wonderful that there’s a wealth of help and information out there waiting to be called upon!

    1. Yes, it most certainly is great! For those like me who have a hard time finding time for lessons & classes, boy do I appreciate these little gems from my TdF teammates!

  6. Nice job! I had a similar experience with removing twist from a singles yarn. It seemed like such a ‘simple’ fix that it couldn’t possibly work, but it did!

  7. WOW! That is amazing the difference between the two plied skeins! I have a few undertwisted skeins I was wondering that would work on, now you have inspired me to give it a try!!

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