Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Definitely Biased

I've knit up a swatch of the handspun 3ply from the NZ fleece. Even though the finished skein hung in a very balanced and well behaved way, the swatch is showing a definite bias.

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I didn't stretch it this way. I only pinned down the corners, as is, so that I could take the picture. Afterward it was tugged and pinned into submission.

I have my eye on an intricately patterned vest for this yarn, but it will have to wait. I have too many projects on the needles as it is.

16 comments:

Sharon in Surrey said...

Nice save on the wool!!! Isn't it amazing how long it can stay in storage??? The swatch color is lovely & reminds me of the variation in my shetland fleece - Arvik!! I guess I don't have much twist in my singles because I don't have that problem.
But,I would think the twist would be neutralized somewhat by your stitch pattern or construction method. How 'bout a modular design???

Nicole said...

Despite the twist, still a great yarn. I love the colour. Seems like it would be great for something manly.

Michelle said...

The colour of your yarn is gorgeous. I'm still so new and ignorant to spinning, so pardon my asking why the bias is happening even if it seemed balanced? Is there any way to correct it?

Marlene said...

Sharon, I don't have a lot of twist in my singles either, nor in the plying. In fact, the skein hung perfectly balanced when fresh off the wheel. Admittedly it did develop a slight "S" twist (underply) after washing and hanging to dry.

Nicole, I agree, the color would be great for a man. But it will also be great for ME. ;-) I love greys. I already have a sweater on the needles for my husband. The next one will be for me.

Michelle, I'm pretty new and ignorant to all the technical stuff myself. I've only been spinning since May of last year. I have no idea why this swatch has such a strong bias when the skein itself was perfectly balanced until washed and then only slightly "S" twisted at that time. And I DO mean slightly. The bottom end didn't hang in a perfect "U", it turned slightly to one side.

The swatch itself didn't even appear terribly biased until I wet it in preparation for blocking. I was able to block it straight, but I would imagine a garment knit with this strong bias would have to be reblocked severely every time it was washed. BTW the "Vest of Many Stitches" that you made way back is the one I was thinking of doing.

Sharon in Surrey said...

How the heck can it bias if the singles & skein didn't??? Twisted needles?? A hitch in yer gitalong??? Knit another swatch just out of curiosity . . . Something's weird!!!

Marlene said...

Sharon, I don't get it either. Everything I was taught says that bias in the knitting is from using energized singles or severly unbalanced plyed yarn. This was definately only slightly underplyed. I wish I had taken a picture of the skein hanging.

I took it to a guild meeting this afternoon and asked the more experienced spinners. Most seemed perplexed. One remembered reading somewhere that reversing my spinning/plying directions might remedy the situation. (Spin in the direction I normally ply and ply in the direction I normally spin.)An experienced knitter of handspun yarns said that the biasing will be most noticable in plain stockinette and it may disappear when done in pattern stitches. As myproject of choice is "Vest of Many Stitches" by Sally Melville, perhaps it will be alright. I'll be sure to do a number of gauge swatches before committing to the project!

Maggie Ann said...

So much to learn! Interesting but also makes me wondor what mine will do when I get to ply it. I posted a picture today of my spinning from the fold effort...hope you come over to see it. I wish I could say its going well, but its tedious at best. I think the way I 'join' is a problem ...by the time the new roving get caught in the twist, the triangle has to be re-invented. Maybe I need someone to stand over me and say, 'this is what you are doing wrong'. ..grin. I too love grey....your yarn is very pretty.

June said...

Garter stitch, seed stitch, etc. (anything that has an even distribution of knits and purls) should help tame the bias. Are you sure the yarn is balanced, fiber parallel with the yarn, etc? I don't trust skein twisting until after a skein is washed b/c twist sets with time on the bobbin.

Marlene said...

Thanks for the tips June. Yes, I'm sure the yarn was nearly balanced. I only say "nearly" because after I wet it it did swing slightly to one side. Not even a single twist back on itself, just a slight forward swing to the bottom end. I've used other handspun yarns that were less balanced and have never encountered this problem before.

The Spindling Scot said...

I may be on the wrong track here, but...
When you washed the skein after plying did you hang the skein to dry with an added weight to pull it down? Leave it hanging with the weight overnight to settle. I normally use a squirty bottle filled with water, and use the handle to hang it from the skein. This often cures the bias fault.

This particular bias problem is often experienced when you are production spinning everyday, so the wool doesn't get time to rest on the bobbin.
Hope that helps :-)

Marlene said...

Thanks for the comment Judy. I don't think that was the problem though as the skein hung almost completely balanced without any added weight. I have used weight with the unbalanced skeins in the past but like to avoid it when I can. I am always afraid that the weight hanging from the wet yarn will stretch it and then cause shrinkage issues in the knit garment later.

The Spindling Scot said...

Hmmm, difficult one then...
I have only had that problem when production spinning on a wheel.

As long as it isn't overweighted, it will not stretch. My skeins are huge so a pint squirty bottle is ok. Normally I weight it just enough to see the skein pull down slightly. The other option is to wind the wool around an old warp reel, spray with hot water and leave until dry.

If you can't or don't want to try weighting it, it may weave into a nice collapsible scarf. Another way is to spin some more the opposite way, use one twist as the warp and the opposite as the weft, that will stabilise the fabric.

I personally wouldn't knit with it though, other than a shawl or scarf where the twist is a design feature.

Good luck :-)

Marlene said...

Judy, are you saying that if I leave it sitting on the bobbins for awhile before attempting to ply it I might have better results? I got thinking about it and this batch WAS done in a much shorter time period than I usually achieve. I did three full bobbins over three days, plying it immediately after finishing the third bobbin. So I would have had one bobbin sitting for 2 days, one for a single day, and one that was then plyed immediately upon completion.

I'll try plying some partial bobbins I have had for about a week and see how that goes.

The Spindling Scot said...

That's right :-)
Most spinners, myself included, when they don't have a project in mind, will spin a bit each day, then eventually ply it. Often weeks (!) after spinning it. I have lots of extra bobbins for my majacraft and ashford wheels just for this reason. So I can let them rest...
In a hurry weight the skeins, else let the yarn rest on bobbins before plying for a week or so (the time for resting depends on the individual spinner, woollen or worsted spun etc, so trial and error, but normally two weeks for me).
Hope it solves the problem :-)

Marlene said...

Thanks for finding your way back here and responding Judy.

Wow, this new bit of information will seriously cut into my spinning time. When I'm "on a roll" I like to spin every evening. I only have 4 bobbins for my wheel and will need them all if I am to do a 3 ply. If I have to leave them to set for a week I will have no extra bobbins to work on during the wait.

The Queen of the Snow Cows said...

I'm a new spinner, but I read somewhere (might be Alden Amos) that you can knit through the back loop and it will take some of the bias out, although you will be able to notice it is not quite stcokinette.