carding wool · fibre preparation · handspun · spinning · yarn

a YouTube habit-rabbit hole.

I’ve recently fallen into a bit of a bad habit again. Again because it’s a similar habit that I fell into when I was first re-learning to spin back in 2014. Basically, I click on a video in my home page on the University of YouTube that peaks my interest and I let it play on from there. Sometimes the next video isn’t of interest and I will stop it, often starting again from my home page. Sometimes (rarely) a video will start that I’ve seen before and I’ll skip it … or re-watch it, if it’s been a while. Although I really enjoyed producing the podcast, I’m not a big YouTube videocast person. I prefer audio podcasts because I don’t have to watch a screen but instead plug in and focus on watching my hands while spinning.

So you might be wondering what I’m watching on YouTube then? How-to videos. There are so many videos out there of varying quality and knowledge that offer much in the way of new spinning techniques, different ways to make many different yarns, and thoughts on fibre preparation. I have stumbled on historical spinning videos, textile history and the evolution of mills. To say I have an interest in textiles is an understatement. In Grade 7, for my public speaking project, I discussed the evolution of fabric and fashion design as we know it now. I know, right? Nature versus nurture here people! haha

The reality is, if you’re reading this, you probably share some of my obsession with textiles, spinning, knitting and fabric. Let’s be honest – we are a small bunch in this modern world of ours! I was told I was part of a ‘cult’ the other day and it wasn’t in a negative way at all – she meant it with utmost kindness but it got me to thinking. I feel really blessed and excited that I get to share these things with you guys because you are as excited about it as I am!

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Hello Yarn Rambouillet in “Lengthy Fibres Dew” part of a long-ago Completely Twisted and Arbitrary (CTA) Spin-a-Long (SAL) here.

So I am even more excited to share a new project that came about as a result of on one of my recent forays into the rabbit hole that is the University of YouTube. I wasn’t really paying attention to what YouTube was doing while I was spinning long draw the other night, something that puts me into a bit of a trance due to the melody that I can achieve if I’m able to sit there long enough and have no interruptions! After a while, a video by the imitable Grace Shalom Hopkins* came on called Mason’s Meadly Roving Combination Handspun Yarn. It is part of a larger write up within one of her books, but the initial idea from the video completely captivated me. I haven’t been able to shake it!

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The next day, while the kids were building a fort, I looked through my fibre stash of brightly coloured braids and **gasp** I didn’t really have anything that would work. I’ve been spinning down my stash for a while now to overhaul it and add some new things – now I’m actually getting quite depleted! I only had two braids that would work for this project. Finally, I settled on a braid of Hello Yarn from a CTA SAL that I never spun [pictured above]. After some glamour shots, I started to figure out how many nests of roving I’d need to spin with it.

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Next, I needed the semi-solid roving to spin with it. I pulled out my drumcarder and made roving! I started with batts, then broke them up to blend them and striped them down to create the smaller nests of fibre to be spun with the combed top.

I also wanted some texture so in the batts so I added silk noil, pulled sari silk and thread. The silk noil and sari silk is from Chaotic Fibres on Vancouver Island, which I bought at Fibres West in March. I was so excited to spin with this in my batts!

As you can see, I’m now onto spinning. I’m planning a centre-pull ball for plying. The plan, after some sampling will be to spin on a lower ratio, like 9:1 for a soft-spun singles and then 12:1 for plying to tighten up the twist slightly. This should make a soft, bouncy yarn with a lovely twist angle. Fingers crossed!

Wish me luck – and of course, I’ll keep you posted on how this particular project goes …

-r.

One thought on “a YouTube habit-rabbit hole.

  1. Interesting Rachel! I have never thought of doing this. I have some batts from Abby Franquemont and some Spunky Eclectic fiber that this might work with! While I do not have a drum carder, I think I will be able to break down the batts to achieve what you are doing here! It will be fun to see how things turn out!

    Like

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