by Anne Podlesak
The original roving was 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon pin-drafting roving from Fiber Optic. Since this was pin-drafted and beautifully prepared, I didn’t have very much prep work to be done with the roving.
I chose this roving blend to knit up a pair of mitts for my husband. He works out in his unheated woodshop pretty much year-round and I thought something to keep his hands a little warmer without sacrificing the use of his fingers would be a really nice accessory for him. However, he is really hard on hand-coverings, since he is using tools, so I felt the nylon component would help add some durability, while the merino would remain very soft.
I divided the 4 ounces of roving into two equal 2-ounce sections using a postal scale, since I wanted to spin a 2-ply finished yarn. The added component of the nylon adds some smoothness and denseness to the finished yarn, and while merino is normally a fairly bouncy spin, the nylon counteracts this a bit.
As a result, because I wanted a hard-wearing yarn, I chose to use a semi-worsted style backward draft, drafting back with the hand that holds the fiber, and then controlling the amount of twist entering the fiber, and smoothing that down with the hand closest to the wheel. I put a fairly hard twist into the singles, just to the point of almost over-twisting, and then put a slightly less hard twist into the plied yarn, to create a very smooth, tightly twisted 2-ply, but one that was not overtwisted.
I wound the plied yarn off onto my skein winder, and then added some choke-ties, removed it from the skeiner, and let it soak in a wool wash and lukewarm water, before spinning it out in the washer, and hanging it to dry. The resultant yarn relaxed just a little bit post-soak, but still maintained a nice crisp twist in the finished yarn with a lovely, soft hand.
Finished Technical Details:
A semi-worsted 2-ply yarn.
Approximately 17 wraps per inch, with 280 yards per 4 ounces.
Photos © Anne Podlesak.