Simple Yet Effective

An amazing thing happened yesterday — I snuck just enough time to photograph a finished project! Whew-hoo! I am beyond excited to share — it feels like it’s been too long, so let me get right to it!

It all started here…

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Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm

 

Three Waters Farm Bright & Distant on the 40/40/20  Merino/Superwash Merino/Tussah Silk base (you can find it in the shop right here!).

On a whim a couple weeks back I grabbed this fiber out of my stash and just started spinning. I was in the mood for a singles yarn, something I could start and finish rapidly just to shake the cobwebs a little from multiple long draw rolag projects I’d been working on and this gorgeous fiber happened to be on the top of the bin of fiber next to my chair. I broke it up into four roughly equal strips and just started spinning.

I was aiming for a low twist single to really play into the hands of this fiber blend. Plus, with my recent singles yarn successes, I wanted to see — I’m going there, brace yourselves! — how low I could go and still create a good yarn.

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The answer? Pretty low! This yarn mostly hit the sweet spot where it just holds together. There was one place where I had to splice it back together when I got a little too overzealous with the low twist, but beyond that I’m extremely pleased with the results. As per my usual with singles, I did a light felting finish. With this particular skein, I was a bit more aggressive with the finish to ensure a good, stable yarn because of the very low twist aspect of it.

For those unfamiliar, how I finish most of my singles yarns goes like this:

  1. Gather 2 basins and wool wash.
  2. Fill one basin with a bit of wool wash and HOT water (like as hot as the tap will go/you might need tongs to get the yarn out hot) and one basin with a bit of wool wash and COLD water (as cold as you can get it from the tap).
  3. Place the skein of yarn in the hot water and make sure the yarn is saturated. Let sit a minute or so (for a more aggressive finish you can gently aggitate at this step, but be very careul — you don’t want to felt too much!). Carefully (because it’s hot!) pull the yarn out and squeeze excess.
  4. With excess water removed, submerge yarn in the cold water. Let it sit for a minute (for a more aggressive finish, you can gently aggitate at this step, but be very careful — you don’t want to felt too much!).
  5. Repeat steps 4 and 5  2-3 more times. If either basin gets tepid, I switch out the water or I add more of the designated temp to  maintain the temperature differential.
  6. Ending with cold water, pull the yarn out, squeeze out the excess, and give the yarn a few good snaps, rotating the skein around your wrists to a different spot for each snap.
  7. Hang to dry.

I want to add that as far as I know, it does not matter whether you end on hot or cold water. I always stop with cold simply because it’s easier on my hands to handle squeezing more water out when the skein is cooler.

For this skein I did aggitate very, very gently while the yarn was in both baths. Basically this amounts to just swishing the yarn around and past itself a bit. Done well, this will felt the yarn very, very lightly making it more stable to knit with. For those familiar with commercial yarns, think Malabrigo Silky Merino. Personally, I like how that light felting works with such a low twist silk blend.

Shortly after finishing the skein, I was inspired by a fellow spinner & knitter in the Three Waters Farm Ravelry Group to knit a Simple Yet Effective cowl for our Tin Can Knits SAL+KAL. And as I already stated in an earlier post, the knitting was super addictive…

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In the interest of full disclosure I started no fewer than 3 times. Once with the long version, then the short version, and then back to the long version. My dilemma was that the short version would have matched the yarn & yardage a bit better, but I prefer longer cowls I can double-up. I finally settled into knitting the long version, knowing I’d use it more and just hoping there would be enough yardage to at least make the cowl a width I could live with.

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Turns out I did! This is one of those projects I’m really proud of because it all came together flawlessly and turned out so well.

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While not perfect, you can see from the repeats here that my yarn was pretty consistent based on stitching, but also on the regularity of the repeats. Usually I don’t get that part to turn out quite this nice, so I’m definitely chuffed!

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From the fabulous colors, to the elegant drape to the simple, large-scale texture, this project is exactly what I hoped it would be! Simple yet effective, indeed!

36 thoughts on “Simple Yet Effective

  1. Wonderful! I love it! To get that low twist with merino and superwash merino means that you have really mastered this technique! And the project is a perfect match for the yarn you made! Great job!

    1. I feel like I’ve made significant progress, for sure! I’m planning a similar Falkland spin in the nearish future so we’ll see how consistently I’ve gotten the technique down!

      1. I am pretty sure you have it! So what will you do with all of this singles yarn? Is it good for weaving? I have heard you have to be careful with pattern selection when knitting because it can skew. Have you found that?

      2. Energized singles will definitely knit with a “lean” but if it’s super well-balanced (like this one is), that’s not really an issue. You can weave with it — it makes especially good weft. But honestly, I’m mostly likely to just knit with it. 😀

      3. I feel confident that yours is very well balanced! Can’t wait to hear how it is to knit! And how is the weaving coming along?

      4. I have the yarn wound for weaving… that’s about as far as I’ve gotten! This spring has brought a couple special projects and I keep pushing it off. One of these days!

  2. I’m chuffing too, in your behalf! Boy, are those pretty colors and the cowl looks so very soft. You’ll REALLY enjoy wearing this one. You ROCKED IT!!!

  3. Your finished cow looks great! And thank you for showing pictures from braid to single to FO & your detailed descriptions; I love seeing what happens to braids!

  4. It looks great!
    BTW- thanks for talking about the Harry Potter mini skein advent calendar, but unfortunately I missed it:( It was already sold out:(

      1. You could also contact them and see if there is any way to still place an order for you. I don’t know what their policy is for that, but it’s worth asking!

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