Lollipop Spin

Lollipop Spin

I finally have a new skein of yarn off of the wheel. It’s been a long time in finishing as the drive band on my wheel broke about six weeks ago and I have had a really tortuous time trying to get hold of another. The shop where I bought my wheel didn’t have one on their website, and I eventually found one elsewhere, but after ordering the wait was so long that I decided to buy another one if I could find one, so emailed the place I bought my wheel and loom in hope, who said they did have them, had just forgotten to update their website, and would do it ASAP. I’ve emailed them four times since, but they’ve not responded, and I started to give up hope that the one I’d ordered originally would ever arrive. Honestly, it all got me a bit down, in that silly way that one little knock can send all of the good things tumbling away, and so I have found it very difficult to create anything since then. But then, one day last week, the band I had purchased plopped through my letter box, and finally this stupidly expensive bit of elastic belt can get to work. I’m happy it is here, because I can spin again. But I learned something valuable from my cousin-in-law-in-law (probably not a ‘thing’, but my husband’s cousin’s husband) – I just call them all cousins because it’s easier and lovelier. Anyway, he works for a company that uses polycord for making belts and things like that and said that it’s a simple length of 3mm round clear polycord, so it transpires I could have got him to make me one cheaper and quicker.

Handspun yarn in bright colours

Once I had the wheel working again I spent an evening continuing to spin up the remaining 40% of the fibre and then another evening plying. This is a simple 2-ply yarn and used every single bit of the 120g braid, hand-dyed by It’s A Stitch Up. I spun the singles onto two bobbins, and when plying the lengths matched up pretty well, so I never had too much remnant on the last bobbin, but what there was I wound into an Andean plying bracelet and spun right to the end. I’ve done this a few times before and it’s perfect for ensuring you get every last centimetre of yarn out of special fibre.

After plying the yarn was wound onto a niddy noddy and gave a total of 120g and 628m. I decided to finish my yarn by steaming it, as I had seen a spinner on Instagram steam-finish their yarn recently, and wanted to give it a go.

I popped the skein into a simple, old-fashioned stove-top steamer and steamed the skein for 2 minutes with the lid on, then removed the lid, very gently took the skein out and rotated it, and then steamed for a further two minutes with the lid off so that the steam could pass through but not condense and run back onto the yarn, to save wetting it through.

The following two pictures give some idea of the changes in the yarn before and after.  The ruler in each picture has been matched up in size and positioning when reviewing the photos, to give the best sense of comparison.

skein of yarn laid out in a loop
Before steaming
Skein of yarn made of very bright colours
After steaming

The yarn has relaxed a lot from its straight and attentive form when fresh from the niddy noddy, where it had been held under tension. It’s difficult to tell if the yarn has pouffed up at all, but it certainly seems more relaxed and airy from its trip into the water. The skein is more open, and, er… floppy? I loved the process, though. It was almost immediate, and didn’t require soaking any towels or finding somewhere to hang the yarn for a day or more to dry. My house did smell like a sheep barn for a short while, however.

I’m glad my wheel is up and running again, so I can start to feel a bit more complete, because daft as it may sound it took a bit of my happiness away when I couldn’t find comfort in the things I wanted to do, and somehow it made me think a lot of less happy times. This lovely Lollipop of colour will help get me back on track.


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