As I wrap up this year in crafting and assess how the year has gone, I realize that my focus has changed majorly this year. While past years saw me knitting miles and miles of yarn, for instance 2011 saw over 18 miles of yarn knit, this year I didn’t even manage to average a mile a month. My total came in at 11.5. However, my spinning totals are up a bit. 5.04 miles spun rather than less than 4 in the past. But if I look at it overall, my focus has shifted considerably to fiber prep and experimentation, rather than knitting with commercial yarns. My spinning focus has shifted to learning to spindle spin. While I do still spin on my wheel, the wheel has become just another tool, rather than the be all end all of spinning it once was. Support spindling has me spinning in a far more relaxed setting and way than I have ever achieved on a wheel, and so I get more accomplished and enjoy it more.
In the upcoming year, there will be weaving. I have decided that it is time to learn, and I am eager for a way to use my handspun yarns differently than just knitting them into simple shawls. I intend to keep experimenting with different wools and fibers, stuff I’ve never tried before. I want to keep spindling, and I want to make thicker consistent yarns. I am hoping to knit a colorwork sweater out of handspun wool fleece undyed paired with handspun dyed wool top. In the upcoming year I will track pounds spun rather than miles spun, as I’d like to get an idea of just how much wool I go through in a year. Tracking the miles of finished yarn doesn’t really give a good indication of that.
And so, the theme for next year is continued learning and experimentation. Appropriately for that, I am again going to talk about the Rambouillet cram pot dyed wool. I finished flick carding it all last night. I also used what I had already spun to start plying it to get an idea of how it would look when it was done. Now, this is the sproingiest most elastic wool I’ve ever knit, and actually getting something resembling neat and tidy has been a challenge. I plied VERY slowly, yanking off any nepps I could as I plied. Then I gave it a warm water soak and thwacked it really really hard against concrete. This was to make the yarn bloom as much as possible, covering the majority of the inconsistencies. I took a picture this morning of the yarn hanging next to another skein I plied yesterday. Both skeins were skeined on my 80 inch niddy noddy, and hanging, you can see just what a difference in elasticity there is. I lost about 12 inches overall on the skein of rambo. This means that rather than the 131 yards I THOUGHT I had, I will have to recount later.