The FrankenSkein

As a spinner, I’m pretty good as using every last bit of my singles yarn when I spin. If I’m spinning a 2-ply, more often than not I’ll use an Andean Plying Bracelet to use up every bit. If it’ll drastically change how the colors are handled and look I might not, but oftentimes it’s not going to make enough of a difference for me to notice or mind. If I’m doing a traditional 3-ply, I’ll often wait until the first bobbin runs out and then take whichever remaining bobbin has the most left and make a plying bracelet from that and carry on with the plying bracelet plus the ply from the other remaining bobbin. In this case (as well as a few others) though, there will generally be some leftovers at the very end.

So what to do with these leftovers?

A couple years ago, before I realized anyone else actually does this (and it turns out many people do!), I just started putting any leftover yarn that was mostly lightweight onto a bobbin. I didn’t discriminate at all so we’re talking all sorts of random colorways and fiber contents.  If I had leftover yarn, it went on the bobbin which I quickly dubbed my “FrankenBobbin.” And for about two years, this is just what I did and I didn’t think too hard about it.

I added a bit of yarn onto the FrankenBobbin just before the Tour de Fleece started this year and while there was still room for more singles, I thought it was a good time to just call it a day and see how this experiment would look. I could have chain plied it to keep the colors whole, but I figured that with such a wide range of colorways I would actually probably be better off mixing them as much as possible. With this in mind, I put the bobbin on my tensioned lazy kate and wound it into a center-pull ball. And then I proceeded to ply — 1 ply from the inside and 1 ply from the outside of the center-pull ball. Of course, I totally spaced on taking photos of the process — sorry! I was kind of excited to see how it would turn out and forgot to slow down and take photos.

I did, however, take photos of the finished yarn. Would you like to see the FrankenSkein born from my FrankenBobbin?

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Isn’t it wonderful?! I’m totally in love with it! Who would think all these misfit colors would create something so incredibly stunning?!

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Of course, it’s not a perfectly consistent yarn as it came from probably at least a dozen different spins. I’ve got one join that is… not pretty, too, but that’s easily dealt with when I actually go to use it. Any knitter who has been at it for a while knows and has dealt with a break in the yarn or a not-so-great knot or a weird spot in some commercially spun yarn. It’s no different beyond the fact that I probably could have and should have done a better job in that spot. But I digress. Because…

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It’s about 420yards of fingering weight yarn. I have no idea yet how I want to use it, but this is one of those experiments that’s turned out so well that I’m pretty happy just to bask in the beauty of it for a while.

I feel like my lovely FrankenSkein is a true testament to the fact that spinning is an incredibly amazing, wild, creative, and forgiving art. How odds and ends from a dozen or so wildly different colorways and fiber contents can produce such a pretty yarn — it’s totally beyond me. That said, you had better believe I’ll be starting another FrankenBobbin at my earliest convenience. If you often find yourself with leftovers from your spins, I recommend you do the same tout de suite!

22 responses to “The FrankenSkein

  1. that is so cool! So did you join the bits as you added them to the franken bobbin? How do you do that?

    It is gong ot make a great striped thing… maybe franken socks or a franken hat? 🙂

      • I’ll have to look more closely at the yarn & fiber content. I usually steer clear of 2-ply socks because I like more durability. I will keep it in mind though!

    • Well… if I was being good, I would untwist/fluff out the end of each new fiber and then twist them together or a good standard handspun join. BUT in the interest of full disclosure, sometimes I just did a quick knot to get the yarns joined so I could “upload” the latest fiber. I would not recommend this — it’s not neat or very nice at all, but it gets the job down when you’re in a hurry.

  2. You need to make a pair of socks – they would be SO fun! I love this idea! Oh, and did you notice that the screw to the left in the first 2 pictures looks like an eye – a pretty one looking at your pretty yarn (with mascara! :))

    • I see loads of people doing this, too, and I always think it’s a great idea. Then i try to imagine using the mini skein and I opt against it. I don’t often do a lot with mini-skeins.

  3. Linen stitch is your friend with a frankenyarn! It looks amazing, it’s going to be something amazing.

    • 🙂 I just added bits and pieces — from the bobbin on the lazy kate to the frankenbobbin on the wheel. I used a very strong uptake and treadled relatively fast in order to add as little extra twist as possible as I was winding it onto the wheel. But yep, totally works!

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