Monday, November 21, 2011
A tale of two skiens
I actually have several spinning wheels. The one I use for the drawing classes is my Ashford Traditional, because it looks the most like what people think a spinning wheel ought to look like. However, it is also the wheel that I lend to my daughter most of the time. We only have a few bobbins for it, so I figured I had better open this one back up before too long. So today I took the wheel back out with me to my local SCA (Medieval historical recreation) practice. I had a second lovely sunny afternoon to sit and spin, and filled up a second bobbin full of singles.
This evening I took both bobbins full of singles and put them on this Lazy Kate. Now, I don't know who Kate was, and why she was considered lazy, but this device to hold bobbins of yarn while you ply them together is a really useful little gadget!
To ply yarn, I feed the two singles from the bobbins back into the spinning wheel, this time turning the wheel in the opposite direction from my original spinning direction. When the two singles twist back on themselves it strengthens the resulting yarn, and if you do it right it makes a balanced yarn that won't kink up or untwist itself, or bias your stitches. That makes the yarn much nicer for knitting or crochet.
When I had a bobbin full of finished yarn I wound it off into a skein, using my weasel. I think it is technically called a clock reel, but when I was growing up my folks volunteered at a restored colonial farm house on the weekends. They had one of these, and the other volunteers called it a weasel. They said it was the basis for the nursery rhyme, "Pop goes the weasel', because after 40 turns around (or 100 yards) the device would make a clicking or popping sound. (The monkey in the rhyme would have been the child pestering the mother as she was working.) I've since been told this isn't true, but I love the story anyway.
All told, I got two beautiful skeins of two ply wool yarn, for a total of 262 yards. I'm going to have these with me on my table this weekend when I set up at Henny & Ev for their craft show on Friday and Saturday night. (http://www.hennyandevboutique.com/) If they don't find a home though, I'll hold on to them for the next time we've got a dye pot going. I like having a stash of hand spun white wool for playing in the colors.