Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yarn Stash and Yarn tips for Crocheters and Knitters

 I vowed within the next year I was going to go through every storage container I own. Now that is a lot of storage containers as I've 13 grade levels of home school books that my husband insisted I keep and the containers full of fleeces to spin. The overflowing large box of tax returns with is probably way over ten years worth. The boxes and boxes of fabric. Well, you get the idea. And with this going through, I'm going to toss and toss and better organize the rest.

When my temperatures plummeted to the high 93's Fahrenheit, I knew I was in trouble. Especially since I took my temperature under each arm and my tongue to see if they were the same. Not hardly. They  have continued to be two or better degrees difference.  In a normal body, they are close to the same with just a few tenths off. I know I had that once. That is what prompted the, "Your weird." comment from my doctor. Said with a laugh of course because we both know how strange this body of mine behaves and though medical books go to great lengths to describe the human body, mine when faced with these well researched facts replies, " But I don't wanna."

What does that have to do with too much in the storage department of our home. Well, since my family kept saying, "Holly your really purple colored." Then, "Your really red now.", and a little later, "Your really pale.". Know that they weren't describing my clothing. It was a bit disconcerting so I decided that being a chameleon probably wasn't good and low hypothermia temperatures weren't either so you'd be proud of me, I took a sabbatical from work.

Okay, your right, that would be a lie. I didn't really. I did sit on my hiney and watch movies for two days. All except the time to do a bit of quick cooking and livestock chores, the essentials. But to the shock of myself and my husband, I sat on the bed and watched movie after movie while I organized left over garden seeds, and uncluttered my yarn bins. Yes, I said bins as in plural.

I have not gone through them in years and after the fiber fest weekend where I included watching some videos on spinning, I was itching to see what treasures I squirreled away years ago along with some fiber I'd bought a year ago but managed to forget I had. Don't tell me I'm the only one that does this.

What I discovered was a mess. I had a lots of bobbins and many of those had a single ply on them but no mate to which to ply to. So I took them off on to toilet paper centers creating a center pull and an outer pull and plied the those two strands of single ply yarn together forming yarn. I've still two to go. Then there was the scads of balls of yarn which is not the proper way to store it. So I made them up into proper storing skeins. Why not store in balls? Well, it distorts the twist and stresses the yarn. So those in balls had to be rewound and sat in very hot water to relax the fibers. Those are the ones on the clothes line and in the bathroom.

Then there were those in small loops when I was spinning a great deal but had broken my kniddy noddy, (the thing you wind your yarn around). So they had to be rewound. I'm still doing that.

 What I discovered from the relaxing the skeins in water and some just tucked in the bins, was skeins with a balanced yarn like in this picture. See how it hangs in a perfect loop. That means I spun the singles and equally plied two singles back on themselves with equal twist so they balanced out.

And I found this wa....y under plied skein which I redid on the spinning wheel. No, I didn't take it a part but just added more twist in the proper direction. This is a good picture to show you. Look at the left hand side of the loop and how it twists to the right. Because I spun the singles with the wheel going to the right and plied with the wheel going to the left. If it is under plied the twist will be to the right.  

This skein twists slightly to the left which means it is over plied  just a little. One expert likes her skeins this way because she calls it energy and did you know that depending on whether you are crocheting a project or knitting and whether you are a continental knitter or a thrower, which way you should spin your yarn? I didn't but I did know that years ago when I crocheted if I didn't buy a yarn that haD a tight twist, I frequently split the yarns with my hook. A very frustrating thing. It is because you are untwisting the ply a little with the motion of crocheting said my daughter and the video I'm waiting on.

So if your project is crochet then you should do your single plies with the wheel going to the left and ply with the wheel spinning to the right. That will solve the untwist problem. Now most commercial yarns are made for knitters so beware what you buy. Look for a good solid twist, not an open yarn because remember you will be untwisting the yarn slightly.  

Commercial yarn is great for a continental knitter but not for a thrower knitter because the later style untwists the yarns slightly also. Blow me away. I learned so much in the first few minutes of this video that I had to have it. What video you ask? I don't know but when it comes I'll show you and remind this brain that was so over filled our fiber fest weekend which one it was. There is another one on color I can't wait until it comes out but it isn't ready for sale yet. 
I found in my bins, white yarns from different fleeces because they had a slightly different color and look but of what type of sheep I wasn't positive. Yup, should have labeled. As I spin up more of the fleeces in the basement I'm sure I'll figure it out so I tied the two different types together.
 Lastly, I put the balance and really closely balanced yarns in their proper twist storage shapes and labeled them. Very, very important. Though I could tell for the most part exactly what each skein was by sight and feel, there were those few mysteries. This organizing also allowed me to see how many skeins of each color and type I had so I knew whether I had enough to make hats, scarves, and mittens, or if there was enough for a sweater or vest. I confess, I spin far more than I knit and that has got to change. As for combining colors, it would be only possible with yarns of the same diameter. I'm spinning finer yarns than I once did and now I'm going to start making three and four ply yarns all because of this video I can remember who did it or what the name is.

Some of my yarn I knit for socks but now I've found out that you need a little silk, mohair, or nylon in the yarn for socks to give it a longer wear factor. So I'll be spinning yarn with silk or mohair from now on for socks. 

Stay tuned because I've asked my daughter to ask her friend who knits socks as she walks in the mornings. You heard me right, she knits as she exercises. Not only that but she knits all the socks she wears. That's impressive!!! What I want to know is 1. What types of fibers or combination of fibers she choose. 2. How many plies she prefers? I doubt they are two ply like all the yarns I prepared to make socks with for I've since found out that in a two ply yarn the fiber moves outward from each other. In a three or more ply, which is more likely her choice since it is rounded and the fibers turn inward. Mutiple plies makes the yarn stronger and more water resistant. It takes less yarn to make a garment from a three or more ply than a two ply. Did you know that? I didn't until the video. Cables should be done with a four or five ply yarn to make the cables stick out more pronounced for the four or five ply creates a very rounded yarn. See, I've just got to have this video for I'm paroting it when I talk about two and three ply or more yarns.

But, wait I was talking about socks. I want to know from this gal 3. if there is a favorite stitch for the heels and toes that aids in making them last longer. If anyone should know, this gal will. My goal is to make socks in the next year from the toe up because I've already make six or so from the top down with two ply yarn. I'm going to change to three and four ply and I want to do ones where you make two on one large circular needle at the same time. That is if only I can follow the instructions in the books. Not my strong point.  

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