Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Scrambling up the Wall

Last winter I wrote a post about hitting the wall--the Ingeo wall. Sooner or later, I knew I'd return to the subject because that's just the way I am. No PLA (Polylactic Acid) was going to get the better of me!

All the necessary materials for my second run at Ingeo are pictured above. This time I took the Spinning Guru's advice to blend it with cotton. To reduce the take up on my Scotch tension Ashford Joy (bobbin pictured on the left), I decided to use one of my double drive Ashford Traveller bobbins (shown on the right). The groove for the brake band for both bobbins is at the top of the photo. Since the diameter of the double drive bobbin is smaller, there is less surface space for the brake band to cover and the pull isn't as strong. You would think that it would be possible to simply turn the Joy bobbin around and use the smaller end, but no, the flyer is tapered and the large end of the bobbin is too big to fit on the small end of the flyer.
To blend the fibers and make puni's from which to spin, first the two colors of Ingeo fibers are placed on the cards--Strauch half size cotton cards.
Then, ginned cotton lint is added on top.
Since I was aiming for a textured yarn, I used a couple of carding techniques. First, a couple of strokes across. Then a quick doff. Stroke, stroke and doff again. Then, I began using Patsy's nibble carding method.
Which lined up the fibers along the bottom of the card.
A very smooth dowel is used to roll the ends of the fibers around...
and, up the card.
Finally, a little burnishing at the curve at the top of the teeth.
When the puni is removed from the dowel, one end is drawn in and the other has more stray fibers which can be used to begin spinning.
This is the singles on the bobbin. It really wasn't as bad spinning these fibers together as it is spinning them alone. The cotton gives the Ingeo added strength (maybe by absorbing any of the extra twist the Ingeo doesn't want?) and the longer Ingeo fibers added to the cotton make using a double drafted long draw easier, too.
A close up of the skein. It is definitely under plied but I was nervous about sending it through the wheel again to fix it up. I wasn't sure just where the line between "texture" and sorta crummy spinning lies so I asked for a opinion from Patsy when I saw her at WI S&W yesterday. She very nicely (may I say again, Very Nicely) told me that, indeed, besides being under plied, the singles themselves needed more twist. And, that where it would be a perfectly acceptable yarn with which to knit, it didn't really have enough texture to be called a textured yarn and, of course, had too much to be a smooth one. I so value this review because it gave me some things to work on the next time I venture up this wall.
So, what would I make with this skein? I'm thinking it would make a nice chemo hat, especially for hot weather; maybe with a ribbed pattern to give some elasticity. It's definitely a soft yarn and the Ingeo with it's moisture wicking qualities would be beneficial on hot days. Plus, it's about a sport weight yarn so it wouldn't be too heavy. What would you make with this skein?


At 6:47 PM, Anonymous kerry said...

I think a chemo hat is a lovely idea.

I know it drives you crazy to have less-than-perfect yarn, but once that's knit up you won't be able to tell at al that *gasp* it was a little inconsistent. :-)

I can't believe you would try Ingeo again.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Vicki said...

Oh, I know it would look fine knit up. It's actually quite a pretty little skein. And, it's not about having a "perfect" yarn, but rather, understanding and being able to execute the best one I can spin. And, this one just isn't there yet. ;) When it is, I'll quit.

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous CarolineF said...

Well, you are more persistent than I. Ingeo, icky! But good for you for finding a way to make it behave usefully.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger A Fiber Frolic said...

Well, all right! You didn't let ingeo get the best of you. Not only that you even advised the rest of us how to get a handle on a pesky fiber.


At 7:22 AM, Blogger vanessa said...

i bow to your persistence :-)
lovely skein!

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

Aha! I knew you wouldn't let that one go. I admire your determination. Thanks so much for sharing the technique and the critique. The yarn sounds like it would be perfect for a chemo cap.


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