This week's yarn story is brought to you from my 9 year old daughter Natalie, who has her own tale to tell...
I was coming home from school and saw my mother dyeing with her friends. I asked if I could dye something. Mom gave me some white wool [pencil roving] and asked me what colors I wanted. I picked purple, pink, and blue. Mom already had the dyes mixed up. I painted them onto my wool, lots of purple, a little pink and one dab of blue. We wrapped it up [in plastic wrap] and put it in the microwave.
[Amelia: We use my non-food dyeing microwave, 2 minutes on, 2 off, 2 on, 2 off, 2 on to set the dye, which was Cushing's Acid dyes, mordanted with white vinegar in the dye liquor.]
After a couple of weeks, I spun it on my mom's Journey Wheel. That was my favorite wheel until she got me a Pocket Wheel [so I can have my JW back...says mom!]
Natalie is quite an exploratory artist -- she loves trying new things. Natalie loves spinning pencil roving, because she can "just spin" and not worry about drafting. Though she's getting in more practice with drafting, she'll still pick pencil roving over regular roving, so she can get yarn on the bobbin as quickly as possible.
Spinning pencil roving without drafting can be more of a challenge for the experienced spinner, actually -- we build habits as spinners, and one of them is the feel of the tug of fibers between our hands, i.e., drafting. Spinning pencil roving without drafting is a good way to learn to spin thicker singles. Reset your inner drafting-barometer to zero, and then try to draft less, the next time you pick up regular roving.
The second challenge is putting in a minimal amount of twist so that it is yarn, but not high twist -- especially if, like Natalie, you don't plan to ply. She has a natural knack for not putting in too much twist; in part because we set her wheel at a low ratio, and partly because she tries not to treadle super-speedy.
Natalie enjoyed spinning Summer Candy, and is happy to think that someone may knit, crochet, or weave it into their scarf, hat, tote, or even sweater, so we've put it up on our Etsy shop, By Our Hands. It's Corriedale wool, 19 yards at 6 wraps per inch, 1 ounce. All of her earnings go to her "France Fund", for her planned trip there when she turns 18.