Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More reflections on the hood project

Now that I've had time to think things through a little, here are some more thoughts on the hood project, most of which were the result of my conversation with the judges:

1. Changing your natural spinning direction and WPI is actually quite difficult.  I’m not sure if this is a mark of how poor a spinner I really am, but I tend to fall into a set thickness for my singles (and I would assume also twists per inch).  There is some variance for fiber type and preparation but I spin pretty consistently and automatically at one thread size.  Trying to vary that so the yarn can be used for some other defined purpose was much harder than I had thought it would be.  Throw into the mix changing twist direction and woo-boy!  The spinning for this project required a lot more thinking and concentration than I have become accustomed to giving over to the task.  It turns out that, for me at least, my fingers have gotten trained to feel twist build up and control the drafting process almost automatically, but only going in one direction.  Switching things up required going back a few steps and really paying attention to small details.

2. Spinning for knitting will tolerate a good deal more inconsistency than spinning for weaving.  I think this is particularly true when making a plied yarn, though as I have not yet tried to make a plied yarn that will eventually be a warp yarn I’m not 100% sure about this.  Weak spots in weaving, particularly for the warp, are really unforgiving since everything is under tension so it seems like what you can bury in your plies for a knitting yarn would still be a problem for your warps, rather than one ply reinforcing the other.

3. There are many fine opportunities for yarns to unspin (or overspin) themselves in the weaving process.  Hence the need for sizing, and careful winding-on of bobbins.  Once I figured this out my bobbin winding process improved considerably and with less unspinning.

On a related side note, pictures of the hand-bound book which was the prize can be found here (if Live Journal is working).  More about the lady who made the book can be found on her web site which has pictures of lots of truly awe-inspiring stuff!

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