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 setting the twist with alpaca
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RobA
Permanent Resident

2373 Posts

Posted - 12/16/2005 :  1:04:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit RobA's Homepage Send RobA a Private Message
The first fiber I used to spin on my wheel was an alpaca pencil roving that was sold for knitting with. So it was a bulky pencil roving that already have a small twist to it. It was great for getting used to the wheel because there was no drafting involved -- I practiced treadline rhythmically and slowly while the soft alpaca brushed through my fingers. I think I started drooling.
Anyway, I need the bobbin that stuff is on, so it is time to get it off the bobbin and onto the niddy noddy. I think I will knit with it as a single. So... do I set alpaca the same way I have been setting other fibers? I.e., a warm bath? I imagine alpaca felts in no time, and I sure don't want that to happen. TIA.



Rob http://roberta.typepad.com/robknits/

Valk_scot
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 12/16/2005 :  1:58:28 PM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message
Yes, you set it the same way. Surprisingly, though, alpaca doesn`t felt like wool does. Different hair structure. Treat it gently and it will be fine.

Val.

[img]http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/26/26_9_21.gif[/img]
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spinningbunny
Warming Up

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 12/16/2005 :  6:56:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit spinningbunny's Homepage Send spinningbunny a Private Message
Hi Rob,
If the alpaca has been on the bobbin for more thatn 24 hours it is setting itself. If you wind it off onto a skeinwinder and then spray it with water using a mister you then have two choices for setting. One-- leave it on there to dry, carefully wind yarn in 4 places to hold the skein together, let it dry and then pull it off the skeinwinder and whack it against the wall a couple of times.

or Two--after skeinwinding, tie in 4 places as above, mist it with the water sprayer, then carefully pull it off the skeinwinder while wet and hang it on a hanger and then weight it down with the spray bottle hanging in the skein at the bottom until it dries. Either way whatever extra twist you set should be now straightened out and the yarn should be more fluffy, softer and usable.

Have a hoppin'in day,
Susan, the bunny's spinner
http://www.spinningbunny.com
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Valk_scot
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2005 :  03:11:38 AM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message
Just remember that water-set twist in singles is not a permanent set. The minute you put it into water again the twist will reactivate. So if you intend to knit something that will be washed out of singles you`ll need to use a stitch pattern that will stabilise the twist, or your knitted piece will bias.

Val.

[img]http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/26/26_9_21.gif[/img]
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RobA
Permanent Resident

2373 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2005 :  05:57:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit RobA's Homepage Send RobA a Private Message
I've been wondering about that issue of singles biasing. I use commercial singles to knit with all the time -- especially Brown Sheep's Handpaint Originals and their Lamb's Pride, and I don't get any bias to the finished piece. (Theirs, of course, does not suffer from overspinning.) I am finishing a sweater from Harrisville's Orchid Line, also a single -- no biasing. But again, not a tightly spun yarn (Harrisville describes it as a "tender" yarn.) I do have overspun sections of this very first attempt of mine, but the rest of it looks great. I will of course swatch before I start a project.

Rob http://roberta.typepad.com/robknits/
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BessH
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3095 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2005 :  06:17:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit BessH's Homepage Send BessH a Private Message
Interesting idea, to whack your wet yarn against the wall. I've done that with silk, but usually with the other animal fibers I just put my hands in the skein and jerk the yarn outwards a time or two.

But I always wet block all my yarns. I actually dunk them into warm water, sometimes with soap, if it's white yarn, and then hang the skeins to drip dry. As a rule, I don't care to knit with singles, so I don't often have to weight my yarn to set the excess twist out.

You never need to worry about felting if you dont combine all 3 ingredients needed - heat, soap and water. Just don't move the fiber around in it's warm bath and your fiber won't felt.

Ha! even typing something like the above gives me the willies, since all things can happen and once you say something won't, it will. I can just hear the Fiendish Fairy of Fiber Flub-ups saying "Nya ha haaaaaa. I'll show her!" But, to date, I have never felted any fiber I've spun while wet setting it in a warm bath.

Bess
http://likethequeen.blogspot.com
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Valk_scot
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2005 :  07:44:13 AM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by RobA

I've been wondering about that issue of singles biasing. I use commercial singles to knit with all the time -- especially Brown Sheep's Handpaint Originals and their Lamb's Pride, and I don't get any bias to the finished piece. (Theirs, of course, does not suffer from overspinning.)


Accoding to an article I read in Spin-Off, commercial singles are heat-treated to set the twist and it becomes permanent. I belive the artocle also mentioned how to heat-treat handspun to permanently set twist, but I can`t recall exactly how. I`ll try and find the article.

Bess, I thwack my alpaca and llama plied yarns against the wall tiles while wet too...and I belive (shudder) you do this to cashmere also? My spinning Guru at our Guild told me to do this to fluff it up a bit. Obviously I don`t do this to any wool blends! Think it`s called fulling?

Val.

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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2363 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2005 :  09:10:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message
Oh, you can whack all of your wet skeins ahile washing after spinning. They don't felt at all, in my experience, though once in a while with shetland or Icelandic the strands will stick together just a tiny bit. Whapping does a couple of things, it will even the twist out a bit, distributing it around the skein, and it will bring up the halo on angora, mohair, and cashmere. This was also recommended to me when I bought my first alpaca to spin, as the alpaca owner said that it helps to fix the slippery alpaca fibers into the yarn. I do know that angora spun, plied, and whapped, does not shed much, if any.

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
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RobA
Permanent Resident

2373 Posts

Posted - 12/17/2005 :  09:16:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit RobA's Homepage Send RobA a Private Message
Hmmm. Whacking. Very cathartic.

Rob http://roberta.typepad.com/robknits/
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Susan T-O
Permanent Resident

USA
2481 Posts

Posted - 12/18/2005 :  08:51:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit Susan T-O's Homepage Send Susan T-O a Private Message
Heh heh--I don't know why, but "thwack my alpaca" is funny to me.

I always soak my skeins in warm water with a little Eucalan in it, no matter what kind of fiber, then hang it to dry. Sometimes I thwack, sometimes I don't. If my skein hangs straight right off the niddy-noddy, then I don't weight it, but if it tends to twist even a tiny bit then I weight it. Normally a few plastic clothes hangers do the trick, or if I need a heavier weight then I'll use a plastic spray bottle with an inch or so of water in it.

Gads--that reminds me. When I first started to spin, I didn't know how much weight to use, and hung every skein with an old-fashioned heat-it-on-the-stove *iron* attached to the bottom with a carabiner. (shudder!!) As you can imagine, they weren't very elastic after that.

--Susan T-O in Long Beach CA

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the
most discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny.'" --Isaac Asimov
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dad_who_spins
New Pal

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 12/20/2005 :  07:05:53 AM  Show Profile Send dad_who_spins a Private Message
The way that I set the twist on my singles yarn is simply to wind it off the bobbin (or drop spindle) into a firmly wound center pull ball using a ball winder (or sometimes a nostepinne for spindle spun yarn). Then I place the wound center pull ball of singles into an electric vegetable/rice steamer and steam for about 30-40 minutes. While the yarn is still damp from the steam, I wind it from the center pull ball into a skein using a large wooden swift. I leave it on the swift to dry. Since the yarn has been steamed it's not dripping wet when I wind it onto the swift. I haven't noticed any water damage to the wooden swift, yet. If you don't have an electric vegetable steamer, you could do the same thing with a steamer pot or colander/pot combination on the stove.
Of course, if your finished yarn has excess dye or dust/dirt that needs to be rinsed out, you might want to soak the skein in a water bath with some wool wash after you've set the twist with the steam and wound it into a skein.

~Dad_who_spins
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spinningbunny
Warming Up

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  11:14:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit spinningbunny's Homepage Send spinningbunny a Private Message
Oh my gosh. That is way more than I want to do but sounds like it works so well.


Have a hoppin'in day,
Susan, the bunny's spinner
http://www.spinningbunny.com
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