the greening of the skeins

A couple of weeks ago I realised that I didn’t have the greens that I wanted for the next set of lace scarves. I have several greens, but they were too olive – I was looking for something a bit brighter and grassier. I now have all these.

green skeins phone

I am not very well equipped for yarn management, having just my wooden umbrella swift and a manual bobbin winder which I combine in various ways depending on the task I am trying to achieve. These are 50g skeins of 2/64 Merino/silk and I wound 13 of them in total. It took ages! I mount the swift sideways on the edge of the loom…

sideways swift

…so that I can turn it – to speak bluntly – by hitting it. The cone I am taking the yarn from stands on a scale on the floor under the swift so I can tell how much yarn I have removed. I reckon I have to wallop the swift 12 – 14 times for each gramme of yarn skeined (fewer wallops at the beginning when the swift is light and more as it gets heavier). It takes me 15 minutes to wind one skein, so call that 40 wallops/minute. For over three hours. Ow. Except I’m not that daft, and never wallop for more than half an hour at a time.

On Wednesday last week I took the first seven skeins round to my mother’s house and we dyed them using the wrap-in-plastic-and-steam method. The results were gorgeous, though not especially visible in the picture above (they are the ones on the left). They were also too variegated for my scarf plan, hence the second set of skeins (on the right). For those I used the simmer-in-the-pot method and the results were much more even.

Now I am turning the skeins into spools so that I can wind a warp. The swift is mounted sideways again, but on the bench rather than the loom…

swift on bench

…so that the yarn comes off at the right angle for the bobbin winder. In the photo above the bobbin winder looks miles away, but in fact there is just enough space between the two for me to stand and crank the handle. To make these.

green spools

25g per spool, more or less. I do rather hanker after a cone winder, but I also love the pod shape of these little handmade spools. And as I wind I am cooking up plans for the variegated greens. I think there is some yardage in my near future.

the greening of the skeins” was posted by Cally on 18 March 2013 at

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6 Responses

  1. Janet in Silver Spring
    | Reply

    Rather than a cone winder, I prefer a double-ended electric bobbin winder. It will wind bobbins, spools, and cones. By fitting a “plug” with a hole in it into the larger end of the cone, you can easily wind cones.

    Great greens!

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Electric, ah yes! That’s a more ambitious dream but I do indulge myself with it from time to time…

  2. Sandra Rude
    | Reply

    What lovely colors! The greens of Spring. And Janet’s right – power tools trump manual tools any day. (BTW, she has cone adapters for her AVL bobbin/pirn winder that my DH made.She and I use the same basic method.)

  3. Sandra Rude
    | Reply

    P.S. A skein winder might be an even better acquisition. The skeins that a proper winder make are easier to unskein than those made with an umbrella swift, because the umbrella swift can change diameter as the yarn builds up (and tension builds up) on the swift. Even circumference and even tension make a skein that behaves itself much better. I found myself cursing far less once I started making dye skeins on a skein winder.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Right at the top of my wish list! There’s only so much swift-walloping a wrist can stand. Although I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the unwinding – I was expecting it to be a nightmare.

  4. Christina Chisholm
    | Reply

    I really like your variegated greens, Cally – even if you were hankering after the solid colours, to me the slight colour variations in the photos are infinitely more interesting…….

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