So once you have spent a merry afternoon making yourself a whole bunch of rolags you have to sit down and spin them all into useable yarn. A much slower process. Or it is if you’re me anyway. I use a drop spindle I got as a Christmas present a couple of years ago – this one from Heidi Feathers.
I use some shop bought yarn as a starter for my spinning – in this case some blue double knit left over from another project. I learned to spin by searching YouTube and doing a lot of trial and error, and I’m still not that great at it. I’d like to think the uneven quality of the yarn I produce is part of its charm!
Once I’ve spun all the fibre from the rolag I unwind the yarn from the spindle and use the leader yarn to tie it into a little bundle.
A few evening’s spinning later (not non-stop, even I am not that slow!), and all my rolags are now yarn. Or almost yarn. I added a couple more colours since the last time I posted since my delivery came and there was some wool in there that I HAD to include.
Now the magical process that stops the stuff just unravelling – soak it in warm water.
I fill a bowl with water that feels fairly hot and include a squirt of washing up liquid. You can buy fancier stuff but I’ve never had any issues with the results I’ve got from regular ol’ Fairy Liquid. Pop the wool in there and squeeze it gently to get the air out and the water in. Don’t muck about with it too much or you’ll just be making a big felted string. Leave the wool in the water for about 10 minutes.
After it’s soaked I take it out, squeeze the warm water out gently and give it a little rinse in clean, cool water. Then I pile it all up on the kitchen table where it will be most in everyone’s way and faff about taking arty pictures of it.
Now the scary bit – unravelling each little bundle and hoping that the yarn doesn’t just unspin itself. Thankfully, none of mine did. I made it into skeins by wrapping it around my forearm from thumb to elbow, and getting my jumper nice and soggy in the process.
I then tied each skein on to a coat hanger using that blue leader yarn and hung it to dry in the airing cupboard. Of course, you can hang it outside to dry when the weather isn’t making a mockery of the concept of “meteorological summer”.
I’ll leave it overnight to properly dry out before getting to the next stage – planning out the overall design for the wallhanging, also known as Procrastinating and Avoiding Making Decisions!