New Spinning Toy

Posted in spinning, toys, WIP by tchemgrrl on October 13, 2009

A new spinning toy! One that doesn’t actually do any spinning, assist in holding singles or plying, or even help to make my yarn look prettier.

What is? Just a gram scale, that I got during a clearing out of some less sensitive equpiment at work. But wowwie, it is giving me some useful info.

Take this yarn,

2 ply laceweight

2 ply laceweight

I’ve been working on spinning the singles off and on for ages now–I had a half-filled bobbin that had been set aside at least two years ago, possibly three.  Finally, FINALLY, last week, I actually get around to finishing off the second bobbin of singles and plying everything up. I knew I had about 10 ounces of fiber, and that Ashford claims that their standard bobbins hold about 4 ounces of fiber each. The two larger skeins, 720 and 700 yards respectively, each filled the bobbin pretty thoroughly, but at the same time they weren’t completely maxed out. The pile of fiber that was left sure looked like a lot, but how much did I actually have left, and how much yarn might I have at the end?

2 ply laceweight wpi

2 ply laceweight wpi

Now that I have a gram scale, I know all that, and I also know how similar the two skeins are. I’d been spinning to match a small sample I had, but this was spun up over such a long time that I had little confidence in its consistency.

First skein: 105g. Second skein: 97.5g. Third tiny skein: 6.2g.

So, it looks like with really well-packed, worsted spun, fine yarn, the practical limit for an Ashford bobbin for me is about 3.7 ounces. If I had a Woolie Winder and cranked down on the tension I’m sure I could get it up to 4 ounces, but 3.7 is good “best usual case” info for me. The grist was reasonably consistent between the first and second skein. Considering the many life changes that have happened in the intervening time, I’m pretty pleased with that.

I also weighed the remaining fiber: 93g. So I’ve got one more skein, slightly smaller than the first two, left. That’ll give me about 2100 yards of this 28-30wpi 2-ply wool-silk blend, which means that I can start looking up useful patterns even as I spin up the remainder. The yardage is actually less than I’d guessed–somewhere in the 3000 yards-per-pound range, when I’d been thinking vaguely of Jaggerspun Zephyr which is in the 5000 ypp range. But over 2000 yards is plenty for a nice-sized shawl, probably knit on US2’s or 3’s.

I’m finding it to be a useful thing to have around. In the couple of weeks I’ve had it, I also used it to weigh all my spindles. I have six which is not too many for a happy spindler. They all look totally different from the others, but  three of them are 14-15 grams, and three are 37-38 grams. Apparently I had preferences I wasn’t even aware of. I’m also clearing off all my spinning bobbins, so I can weigh them. I’ll make a small note of their weight on the bobbin itself, so I can try to have the same weight of singles on each bobbin for a multiply yarn. I have a few different styles of Ashford bobbins, so this will be considerably more accurate than my current “scratch my chin for a minute and then guesstimate” method, which is entirely dependent upon my inconsistent spatial awareness.

So yeah, a convenient tool, one I should have gotten a long time ago.


One Response

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  1. Lynn said, on November 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I picked up an old double-pan balance at a lab clean-out a long time ago. I use it all the time for fiber. I can either mix equal weights of fiber, or use the brass weights I got with it to just measure the mass of my yarn. It is great for splitting a pile in half by weight when I don’t particularly care how much I have, just that it is divided evenly.

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