Twist Takes Center Stage

As I shared earlier this month, March has been a month of spinning singles. I’ve spun singles before, but I’ve never really dedicated myself to a deep dive study of them. This month, I managed to spin, wash, and dry 6 skeins of singles. 28 ounces of yarn that are so much more than just a few hundred yards of yarn with which to knit or weave. These skeins represent hours of study, sprinkled with a hefty dash of doubt and uncertainly, that slowly grew into self-confidence and understanding and ultimately culminated in a very basic level of mastery over the technique. That’s pretty heavy for 28 ounces of wool.

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All from Three Waters Farm, these colorways are from L-R: Calendula Flowers, Quilter’s Magic, Spring Forth, Common Ground, Cold Sunny Morning, and Storm Clouds. They are almost all different fiber content, so let me introduce them to you!

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Calendula Flowers was dyed on a 60/40 Polwarth + Silk base. This was the most challenging of all the spins for me, just because it was the hardest for me to find the right amount of twist. At first, I was spinning it with too little twist and it was at risk of falling apart. Then, I panicked and starting adding too much twist — because, of course that’s what you’d do, right?! And then I think I started to find the “sweet spot” for the fiber.

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Thankfully with handspun yarns, a good finish can forgive some of those early inconsistencies in a yarn. It was an 8oz spin, so it’s a substantial skein of heavy fingering or sport weight yarn and it’s settled into a pretty well-balanced skein. I just love the bright, warm colors of this skein, too. It was absolutely the perfect colorway for an end of winter spin and I’m really excited to measure this one and start dreaming of possibilities for it.

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Quilter’s Magic was dyed on 100% Rambouillet. I’ve spun singles on this base before so it was much easier to find my stride on this base. I find Rambouillet lends itself really nicely to a worsted weight single.

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It’s a really lovely, low-twist single here with rich, bold colors. It’s absolutely a perfect yarn for a nice cozy hat.

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Spring Forth was my last singles spin this month and it was by far the best executed. This was the companion colorway to the Three Waters Farm Top of the Month Club and I got both on the 100% Falkland base.

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Falkland, I’ve learned, lends itself really, really nicely as a singles yarn. I spun this 4oz in an evening and I’m really just totally in love with it. I think it’s the perfect example of when all the stars align — when feet, hands, and mind are all working in perfect harmony and you create a truly wonderfully balanced skein.

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Common Ground was the Top of the Month Club colorway for March. As I mentioned, it’s also on a 100% Falkland base.

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This worsted weight single also turned out super nicely. My original thought was to weave these last two together in a squishily delicious scarf.

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Cold Sunny Morning was dyed on a 40/40/20 Merino + Superwash Merino + Tussah Silk base. It’s the least uniform in diameter and twist of all the singles I spun this month. It might have been just that I rushed through this spin a bit too fast or that I didn’t quite hit the “sweet spot” where my feet, hands, and head are all working just right. I’m honestly not sure.

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I know it will knit or weave up just fine, but I will definitely be revisiting this blend in the future for a singles spin to try to refine my skills with this blend just a bit more.

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And last, but not least, Storm Clouds on 75/25 BFL + Silk.

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I shared this with you earlier this month, but I thought it was worth bringing it back and putting it in the context of the entire month-long study. This may have been my favorite silk-blend for spinning singles. I take that back. I found it the easiest silk blend to spin as a singles yarn because it came most naturally to me, I found that balance more quickly with it. Truthfully, once I was really going, they were all very enjoyable spins.

I’m the first to admit that I’ve still got a lot to learn about the nuances of different fibers as singles and, you know, how to not panic-text spinner friends and mentors at random times for advice on if I’m getting the TPI right on a certain spin. But I am worlds beyond where I started less than a month ago with spinning singles and I’m very proud of and thankful for that. Not only has it really widened my spinning horizons, I feel as though my depth of knowledge when it comes to twist has leveled up.

When I stop to think about why I feel such a deeper understanding in how I create yarn, I can’t help but recognize that the crux of it is a simple as the yarn itself. Twist takes center stage with singles. Because the construction of a singles yarn is so very simple, as a spinner you reach a new level of intimacy with twist when you spend time spinning stand-alone singles yarn. It’s the basis for all the yarns we make, but with singles that interaction between fiber and twist are much more exposed, much more raw. Stand-alone singles are so beautifully simple; fiber + twist to create one of the most basic iterations of yarn possible. And that, indeed, is something to take the time to explore and celebrate.

We Make Yarn.

I’ll catch y’all up on my holiday soon, but today I’m over the moon to be able to share a new project on which I’ve been working with Mary Ann from Three Waters Farm. It’s called #wemakeyarn, an Instagram-based month-long photo challenge for the month of January designed to inspire and connect the community of handspinners. We’ve worked hard to develop prompts that would help us all share and discuss about, as well as reflect and celebrate this beautiful craft.

For those who may be interested, this is the image and prompts that’ll be the cornerstone of the event…

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You can find the image on Instagram on my account, @knittingsarah, as well as the official Three Waters Farm account, @threewatersfarm, and also the brand new @wemakeyarn account where we’ll be curating beautiful and inspiring spinning photos throughout the event to share.

For those who were considering participating in the #spin15aday challenge for 2018, this is a fantastic way to get started with it. I’ll be using the month to really spring-board myself into a year-long habit of daily spinning. I hope those of you who are spinners will consider joining and sharing with all your spinning friends!

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