Over on the Patreon Page we have begun choosing a pattern as well as our fiber for the Sweater Spin Along that will be happening over the next 8 months. I know it sounds long but it’s nice to be able to take your time and really do it. and for most people, a sweater is a big project to spin for and so we need to give everyone a good amount of time to accomplish this very satisfying task.
Anyway, we’re sampling and making decisions about whether the fiber we choose will work for the pattern we want and also whether our spinning choices are the best way to go or should there be some tweaks and adjustments. In my opinion, the best way to go about all of this is to sample. It feels like it takes so much time and precious fiber but believe me when I tell you, you don’t want to spin 2000 yards of 3 ply yarn and then be underwhelmed with the sweater you made.
To accomplish sweater happiness I always sample and I keep good records. That way I know what worked, what didn’t and also I have some nice samples for future projects that I can easily duplicate because I made good notes. If you think you’ll remember just by looking at the yarns, you will not. Just ask the giant box of samples I made in classes which I didn’t bother to label at the time.
Here are the things I think are important to put in your notes.
Fiber Type – Obvious why
Processing Method – be specific here. If you combed it yourself, did you take it off the comb through a diz or some other way? If you carded it, did you make a rolag or a cigar or use some other method?
Wheel – If you have more than one wheel then note the wheel you are spinning on. All wheels spin differently and will affect your yarn outcome.
Drive System – So, if you have a lendrum you are definitely in Scotch tension (flyer led) but if you have a Matchless then you could be using any of the three systems and so it’s important to note here.
Flyer Whorl – Which whorl are you using? It’s not always important to note the exact ratio but I do note if I am in the biggest or the smallest groove and if the wheel has multiple whorls then which specific whorl it is.
Bobbin Whorl – Some wheels have different whorl grooves. These differences an be on either end or all on the same end like on the Louet Irish Tension wheels. These differences affect the speed/take up/twist.
Draft:Treadle Ratio – here’s one that many people don’t use but I think is important for consistency sake. Basically you figure out how long your draft is and how many drafts you do per one treadle. So if I am doing short forward draw, 1.5 inch draft each time my right foot goes down then my ration is 1.5 inches to 1 treadle. Sometimes you might have two treadles per draft and sometimes, if you are doing long draw, you might have like 18 inches to 20 treadles. (I don’t count treadles the whole time I spin but I do pay attention for the first 10 minutes of each spinning session to get into the correct rhythm – then it’s called the Rhythm Method of spinning. LOL)
Drafting Method – Short Forward? Shord Backward? Supported long draw? Something you do that is unusual? Then describe it so you can reproduce it.
Other Notes – any notes you want to tell future you that will help to make this yarn again.
And then, I wrap singles around the card and punch two holes. One hole holds a fresh two ply ply back sample and the other holds a fresh three ply ply back sample. Those are there for the plying later on. The singles will help you maintain consistency over an entire project.
It’s not too late to join in the spin along. Just head over to the Patreon Page and join for only $3 per month and I’ll be leading you in my process and in the end we will all have a new sweater!