Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sampling Report...

These are the first three knitted samples I've done for Sharon Miller's Wedding Ring Shawl
pattern. On the left is the commercial merino yarn sample that came with the pattern. In the center is handspun cormo, spun from minicombed locks. On the right is handspun superfine merino 80's count top. All samples are knit on US size 0 Crystal Palace bamboo needles. The dime is there for size reference. I'd be interested to hear your opinion on "the one most likely to succeed" for the shawl.

I have a personal preference, however I also have quite the stash of spinning fibers. That means I've hauled out all the baggies of precious fibers to spin more samples. It also means that I've been poring over all my spinning and lace knitting reference books. Margaret Stove has figured prominently in my bedtime reading and reflecting. Galina Khmeleva's two Gossamer Webs books are in second place. I don't yet own a copy of Heirloom Knitting. I suspect that will be remedied in relatively short time.

Meanwhile, I thought you might like to see the drafting zone as I've been spinning such fine gauge yarn:

The fiber in this photo is superwash Australian merino top, about 64's count which I'm currently sampling. Note the tension on the fibers as they enter the yarn. That's one of Margaret's tips to keep the crimp on fine merino fiber under control in the yarn. If you've ever spun what you thought was lace weight only to watch it bloom to light worsted weight when washed, you'll appreciate the hint.

My notes from Margaret Stove indicate that she says not to spin more than 2 hours on a bobbin. That doesn't come anywhere near filling a bobbin. However, it does prevent one from losing the end of the yarn in a half filled bobbin, a common hazard when spinning fine yarn.

Well that's it for the current up date. I'm not sure whether I'll head straight into the Wedding Ring shawl once yarn decisions are made. Or perhaps I'll play around with smaller amounts of handspun gossamer weight yarn for some other lace patterns as warm-up for the Wedding Ring. Regardless, I'm headed back to the wheel for some more play....


  1. Oooh, beautiful spinning! I like both the handspun, but for a truly gossamer shawl I think the cormo's a bit dense. Are they all washed & blocked?

  2. I like the handspun merino. I don't have a lot of experience with lace, but it looks like what I would like an heirloom shawl to look like. Huh? Well, you know what I mean.

    The spinning is awesome, the picture shows great detail.

  3. You are my spinning hero! I have a hard time imagining knitting with something that fine at this point, never mind spinning that fine.

    I like the hand spun merino also. If you chose to go ahead and spin all of the yarn for your shawl, it will definatly be about journey and and not the destination. Wow!

  4. I cast my vote for the handspun merino too - and am going to enjoy your journey.


tie in the loose ends...