Saturday, September 4, 2010

Andean Bracelet

As you know, I am learning how to spin yarn from animal fibers, on a drop spindle.
Learning to spin a single strand yarn was quite a challenge.
It is not the spinning itself, but trying to make a thin,
consistent, balanced yarn is what I am after.  This remains a work in progress.
I am learning to have incredible patience with myself and pretty much celebrate
every little step along the way.
I encourage anyone with the slightest interest in spinning to give it a whorl (pun intended).
It's fun.  It's an art.  It's challenging and rewarding.  The possibilities are endless.

Once you have your first spindle full of one-ply yarn, you are going to want to take it off the spindle,
and start over making your second ball of one-ply yarn.  When you have two balls of one-ply,
there are different methods you can use to make two-ply yarn.
My method of choice is called Andean plying.  It is a technique of winding yarn around your hand
so you can ply from both ends.

I had Rikki be a hand model for me today.
She removed her chipped and peeling fingernail polish just for the occasion.
Not only did she model, but she learned something.  Isn't it great how that works?

Start by wrapping one end of the yarn around your wrist a couple of times.
You will want to keep track of the end, so just tuck it into on of the loops.

Bring the yarn up and wrap it around your middle finger.

 Then bring the strand back down. Then bring it in front of your palm
and back up on the other side of your hand

 Like so.
You will be bringing it back around your middle finger
and down towards your thumb again.
Just keep repeating the process.

This is what the palm side looks like.  If you end up with any yarn
crisscrossing your palm, you have made a mistake and will need to 
unwind to fix it.

 You can see the yarn crisscrossing as you progress.

You would be amazed at just how much yarn you can get on your hand
using this method.  For our purposes, we just used a small amount or yarn.

Once you have come to the end of your ball of one-ply yarn,
you gently slide the yarn up your hand a ways until 
you can slip your finger out of the loop.

 Leaving the loop as-is, slide the yarn back onto your wrist.
Congratulations, you have just made an Andean bracelet.

 Now you are able to grasp both ends of the yarn and pull them.
They will easily uncoil from the bracelet, providing just enough tension to aid
in spinning the two-ply yarn.

 Tie a leader yarn onto your spindle and - this is the important part so pay attention - 
spin the spindle in the opposite direction that you did when you spun your one-ply strands.

 When I made the single strands, I got the spindle spinning by rolling it
with my hand, down the side of my leg, from my thigh to my knee.
This time, Rikki will start the spindle spinning by rolling the spindle up her leg
from her knee to her thigh.

 Here we have the end of the two-ply yarn attached to the leader yarn
and she will continue spinning the two strands together until she reaches the
end of the Andean bracelet.

Since I don't own a nostepinne, but we do use lots of toilet paper in our house,
I have fashioned my own nostepinne out of a spent roll, to make a center pull ball of yarn.
And there we have it.
Our very first attempt at plying yarn.
In my eyes it represents determination and heart. I am proud of that little ball!


Marcia said...

Your yarn looks beautiful! I've been working on some of my roving - using a spinning wheel - just couldn't get the hang of the drop spindle. I'm going to send off some more of my fleeces to be processed - takes about 6 weeks to get it back. I may sell some if you're interested? It's Navajo-Churro and somewhat coarse but I've knitted socks out of it and am working on a felted purse. I've found it fairly easy to spin because the staple is so long. What are you going to make?

Michaele Oleson said...

I really would like to buy some. Until I can get sheep, I would much rather buy it from someone I know vs. ebay. Just let me know.
I am hoping to make socks or mittens. But I am nearly as clueless with knitting as I was with spinning.
I would love to see some of your work.