Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Rumplestiltskin Moment....

This is the most recent gossamer weight spinning sample. This little skein is 80 yds. long and weighs about 10 grams. It took a total of 4 hours 45 minutes to spin and ply this yarn: 2 hours per partial bobbin of singles x 2 bobbins + 45 minutes to ply.

That means, if I were to use this sample as my Wedding Ring Shawl yarn it would require approximately 207 hours and 48 minutes to spin and ply the yarn.

I recall Margaret Stove saying that it takes anywhere from 2/3's to 3/4's the amount of time to knit the project as it does to spin the yarn for it. Let's use the higher estimate of 75% considering we are talking about fine yarn, small needles, and lace patterning. Knitting time would be: 155 hours 51 minutes knitting time, for a total of 363 hours 39 minutes to spin and knit the Wedding Ring Shawl.

That would be a little over nine 40 hour work weeks. Now since we know that I will not likely knit 40 hours per week, ever...we can rule out the 9 week timeline. If we were to say that I would work on the shawl about 5 hours per week, which is reasonable if I plan on working on other projects through this process, then completion time would be something like 73 weeks. About a year and a half.

Up to this point, I can live with the numbers. But here's what put me into a cold sweat in the middle of the night last night:

Do you have any idea how much fine wool there is waiting in my stash to be spun?!! At 4 hours and 45 minutes to spin a mere 10 grams, I am in serious trouble!! There must be around 25-30 lbs. of fine fibers in my spinning stash. Granted they don't all have to be spun gossamer or even lace weight, but.....

Then there are the medium grade fibers. It's overwhelming. All of a sudden the Rumplestitlskin fairy tale has become very personal!

More numbers for the samples in the previous post:

According to the McMorran balance, the yarn in the commercial merino in the sample on the left and the handspum superfine merino on the right are both 10,800 ypp. The cormo yarn sample in the center is 10,050 ypp. The cormo is fluffy, but not dense, perhaps I didn't have the crimp stretched out enough in the drafting zone as the twist entered the yarn.

The superwash 64's merino in the yarn sample of this post measures 7,900 ypp. I haven't knitted a swatch with it yet. I'm thinking I will spin up about 400 more yards of this to knit Evelyn Clark's scarf in the current issue of Interweave Knits.

BTW, my current personal favorite for the wedding ring shawl is the handspun superfine merino: the sample on the left. However, I have not yet sampled the silk or the superfine merino silk (50/50) blend. Back to the spinning wheel.


  1. Good thing you've gotta a lot of good years ahead ;-) You're not planning on sleeping, are you?

  2. That wee little skein is beautiful! And if you can live with the time line... Go for it! This is not, after all, a race that you must finish in a set amount of time.

  3. Better get a-spinnin'! :D

  4. Beautiful yarns! I'm waiting patiently to see the shawl (or more samples, I just like lace).

    There's never too much wool, just not enough time.

    And lace books: there is a neverending supply of those too. I'm just discovering them.


tie in the loose ends...