December Spins So Far

Looking back at the blog, it looks like I haven’t finished a spinning project since February. In fact I don’t think I’ve done a whole lot of spinning full stop. Now the Hansen has arrived this looks all set to change! As of this morning I’ve finished FIVE whole skeins.

Here’s a little run-down of what I’ve been up to. Warning, very picture heavy post!

Skein 1 – Ravelry Page

This was a sample that Natalie from The Yarn Yard sent me when she was experimenting with a new dyeing technique. My plan was to spin this fractally and I’d started spinning this up on the spindle back in around March, I think.

I had spun up a reasonable chunk of the first half on the spindle and by the time I got to spinning it up on the Hansen, I’d forgotten about the whole fractal idea and split the first half, which was supposed to be in one long chunk, into more strips. Whoops.

Here’s how we ended up:

It’s a nice squooshy 2-ply – quite happy with the softness and yardage – always goes to show the difference using a more woollen method of drafting can have.

Vital stats:

  • Singles: approx 22 wpi
  • Spun: fractally spun, using semi-worsted short draw. Although as mentioned in the notes, I forgot I was spinning it fractally and then just randomly spun it up
  • Plied yarn: 2ply, using plying balls. Plied yarn was approx 11 wpi before finishing.
  • Finishing: warm water soak, thwack and snap
  • Finished yarn: 9-10 wpi, 167 yards, 85g

Skein 2 – Ravelry Page

This is a braid of Artist’s Palette Merino that Ruth gave to me and I thought it would be perfect to try chain-plying with, as the colours would look better kept separated than mixed together.

I took a couple of in-progress pictures that I shared on Instagram. It’s always nice to see the bobbin as it starts to fill up.

My Woolee Winder doesn’t seem to wind on perfectly evenly, but having looked at other people’s pictures, other people’s seem to do this too, so I’m not too worried.


I’m fairly pleased with the end result – as always when I spin more worsted, I’m always disappointed with the yardage. It’s quite dense, but in terms of evenness and quality of ply and it being the first full skein I spun and plied on the mS, I’m going to try and be happy with it.

  • Singles: were not measured by me. Ooops!
  • Spun: divided the top in half width-wise and split into two long lengths. Spun each from the same end.
  • Plied yarn: chain-plied. Plied yarn was not measured before finishing. Ooops!
  • Finishing: warm water soak, thwack and snap
  • Finished yarn: 10 wpi, 153 yards, 96 g.
  • Spun on: Spun and plied on Hansen miniSpinner
  • Started: 11th December 2013
  • Finished: 14th December 2013

Skein 3 – Ravelry Page

More fibre from Ruth! A packet of Natural Dye Studio British Merino.

This was the toughest spin of the lot. The packet was underweight and there was only about 80-odd grams of fibre in there rather than 100. I also had to pre-draft it quite extensively as it was very compacted, partially felted in places and very neppy. It had to be yanked so much while spinning that my thumbs ended up hurting afterwards. Needless to say I was very glad when it was finished!

My plan was to split up all of the individual colours and spin them up in sequence as a gradient. Broadly, I think I succeeded and you can the colour progression, although subtle, within the finished yarn.

Probably a touch over-plied again, like the Artist’s Palette skein, but I’m sure that will improve with practice.


  • Singles: were not measured by me. Ooops!
  • Spun: split the tops into lengths according to colour and arranged them to get a gradual change of colour.
  • Plied yarn: chain-plied. Plied yarn was approx 10 wpi before finishing.
  • Finishing: warm water soak, thwack and snap
  • Finished yarn: 8 wpi, 100 yards, 76 g.
  • Spun on: Spun and plied on Hansen miniSpinner
  • Started: 11th December 2013
  • Finished: 14th December 2013

Overall I’m fairly happy with the end result given that the fibre itself was so unpleasant to spin. The skein shrunk a lot during its bath, which is to be expected with merino and the resulting skein is very stretchy and springy.

There’s some bits that I look at in the pictures and think, “Cor, that’s actually pretty good” and then on the rest of it, not so much. All a learning experience though right?

Skein 4 – Ravelry Page

A final braid from Ruth! This was a club shipment from The Yarn Yard a few years back. I actually had this one arrive at the time, but swapped it as I had no clue how to spin Falkland. Now, I do 🙂

This was the perfect opportunity for me to test out my brand new Lazy Kate! All of my other skeins had been plied after I’d wound them off the bobbin(s) into plying balls the same as I would use when spindle spinning. I didn’t fancy winding a three-ply stranded ball and the Kate arrived just in time. It’s an Ogle Kate from Etsy, also in Cherry so it matches my mS perfectly.

I wanted to try and get a bit more yardage from this one so I made an effort to spin more woolen-style. Here’s the results:

This ones around a worsted/Aran weight, so in terms of yardage it’s not far off commercial results. Pretty happy, although it seems I need to practice my continuous plying as it didn’t go how I’ve seen it on the videos! I’m making an effort to take more time with my plying to give a better FO. I think this one would have been even better with improved plying, but it’s getting there. It’s not approaching over-plied, like some of my earlier skeins, so once more I need to learn to be happy!

  • Singles: were approx 24-28 wpi
  • Spun: divided the top into three equal lengths. Split each length in half and spun each third on a separate bobbin.
  • Plied yarn: true 3 ply, using an attempt at continuous plying (it didn’t go that well!). Plied yarn was 11-12 wpi before finishing.
  • Finishing: warm water soak, thwack and snap
  • Finished yarn: 9-10 wpi, 180 yards, 96g.
  • Spun on: Spun and plied on Hansen miniSpinner
  • Started: 16th December 2013
  • Finished: 23th December 2013

Family shot! You can see from this how much the yellow NDS skein shrank after its bath – they were all wound on the same niddy noddy.

Skein 5 – Ravelry Page

Final skein! I was determined to get at least 300 yards from this as I wanted to spin something that would resemble sock weight. This Superwash BFL was from The Thylacine’s August 2012 fibre club. My plan was to spin a lofty 2-ply, from the fold.

Overall I did pretty well – I managed to spin all of the singles up in a day, let them rest overnight and then plied them all in about 90 minutes the next day. I tried hard not to overspin the singles, but I found it hard to do that while also spinning evenly. Tricky!

The plan was then to ply firmly, which I did, but not too much. So tricky though 😦 The resulting yarn has the right amount of fuzz that you’d expect with being spun from the fold, but also has a good amount of strength.

Nourish Superwash BFL - FO
Nourish Superwash BFL - FO
Nourish Superwash BFL - FO
Nourish Superwash BFL - FO
Nourish Superwash BFL - FO

It’s puffed up a nice amount – the WPI increased a little post-bath and has a nice feel to it. Best of all, I beat my 300 yard target – it’s almost exactly 350 yards. Even better, when plying, both bobbins ended within about 12 inches of each other – I’ve never had my singles match quite that perfectly ever before!

  • Singles: were approx 28 wpi
  • Spun: divided the top in half length-wise. Then split each length into two width-wise and spun small chunks from the fold
  • Plied yarn: 2 ply using Ogle Kate. Plied yarn was approx 14 wpi before finishing.
  • Finishing: warm water soak, thwack and snap
  • Finished yarn: 13-14 wpi, 350 yards, 97 g.
  • Spun on: Spun and plied on Hansen miniSpinner
  • Started: 25th December 2013
  • Finished: 26th December 2013

So that’s it! Five skeins finished so far and several more spins planned. I had hoped to make a good dent in the fibre stash, but this is better than I’d expected. At this rate I will have to start buying more fibre 🙂

Next up, trying to spin a 3-ply sock yarn. That’ll be some fine singles!


4 thoughts on “December Spins So Far

  1. That is amazing Azzy. I think all of your yarns look lovely! I’m betting that fibre stash is going to shrink in no time at all -giving you room to buy even more.

    1. Thank you Maureen! It’s taken a while to not overtwist everything and keep everything feeling squishy, but I reckon I’m finally getting there 🙂

  2. look at that! Beautiful work!!! I’ve been spinning on a drop spindle and am infinitely jumping back and forth between wanting to get a hansen minispinner or waiting. But these beautiful skeins make me want to get one ASAP!!!! Thanks for sharing.

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