After having to wait for a while for my leg to recover, I’ve finally managed to complete the Sudden Hedgehog! I eventually decided to tie the hedgehogs on with crochet cotton, after everything else was done. So this is a really good example of the miracles of experimenting and sampling, because I learnt so much during the making of this yarn. I really set myself free from the “lust of result” and allowed myself the room to make mistakes and let things just happen. And here is the result – the perfected (well, almost) Sudden Hedgehog.
And the gratuitous macro shot:
I won’t inflict more photos of undyed polwarth and jute on you all; suffice to say I had another go at this yesterday and it came out better, if not perfect. I deconstructed the twine and made pompoms out of it that way – they were much lighter and softer and less . . . unwieldy. I affixed them during the plying pass with white crochet cotton, but I’m thinking I should use some sort of anchor technique to make them stay put. Not sure how I’d go about that with the spindle. I don’t want to have to give up and tie the hogs on after plying, but it’s still a possibility. It could turn out to be the most structurally sound way to get them in there.
Then I put the new yarn in the steamer to finish it . . . and wouldn’t you know, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed the first time. I scorched the yarn in four places – not terminal, as I can always pull them out and rejoin the yarn, but I’m still annoyed at myself. I always seem to accidentally get things right the first time, then stumble on the second or third or fourth go, on something that you’d think would make itself pretty obvious the first time you try whatever it is.
But I’m learning to experiment with fibre, and feel a little freer to play around and make mistakes. This is a lesson that I needed to learn, and it’s coming hard, but I do feel a bit more relaxed about it than I would have expected.
I still have 4oz of polwarth to mess around with, and I do want to end up with at least 150g so I can make . . . the thing I want to make (mwuhahahaha!)
Before finishing - nice, but a bit lifeless.
After steam finishing- WOW! Look at that bloom!
Yep, the biggest lesson I learnt this time around was how to finish polwarth top! I’ve done the 2-ply with thick and thin before, and I recall that the finishing was pretty brutal on the soft fibre (that was South African, similar in feel to polwarth). So this time I thought I’d try steaming it, rather than a hot bath. I put it in my veggie steamer with just enough water in the bottom of the pan to produce steam but not to touch the yarn, gave it five minutes then turned it over for another five minutes, then pulled it out – it was so so so puffy! I can’t believe how much it’s bloomed with this finishing! I wish you guys had Squoosh-O-Vision! It’s stunning.
But all in all I’m not happy with it. The hedgehogs just aren’t sticking properly and they need to be lighter-weight. I’ll tie them up with some fine crochet cotton next time, and deconstruct the twine to make fuzzier, lighter hogs.
Last night I started my first Pratchett yarn! It was just a thick and thin undyed polwarth single, but it was still exciting!
I had some trouble at first rediscovering the technique for thick and thin, so the first ten metres or so will be a bit lacklustre, but after a while I was cranking out giant fat sections between itty-bitty thin bits. I’m a bit uninspired by the Ashland Bay top, which feels “killed” in my hands, as compared to polwarth I’ve handled before which makes a whole career out of the word “squooshy”.
The yarn was spun on my Ashford Traditional (single drive), using the bulky flyer on the largest whorl (4.5:1) and reeeaaaaalllllly slow treadling.