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And that is why I know I am not ready for a fleece yet. Thanks for the reminder (in case I fall hard at MAS&W).


Deliberate? That would require that I have a plan!


But... but. .... but... I see nothing wrong inherently with the Baritone yarn you spun.

I mean... is there a law saying it HAS to go toward the sweater pattern that you've (theoretically) already picked out. And did you knit a swatch in the pattern and then block it, etc., yaddayadda to be sure it really won't work?

You know I've been trying to spin 460 yards of laceweight now thru... what?... 3 attempts for the Road Not Taken scarf? Still haven't done that, but I'm still okay with the finished product to go be something else.

Or maybe I don't like to practice.


I have NEVER bought a fleece. Is that crazy? I should some day (though, where would I put it?) Just because ... though I worry about not being able to pick out a good one, so there's that, too... Never been to Cummington, either, though ironically the street that my new street turns off of? Cummington Ave (or road or street, or something), and while I was still trying to remember the names, knowing there was a fiber festival--even one I hadn't been to--helped!


I think I have enough fleeces to spend 10,000 hours spinning them ... but then again, maybe I don't. I think I ought to get another fleece at Cummington.

Or two.


Deliberate practice. 10,000 hours. You've just explained why my target practice and matches suck, even with the new pistol.


Count me amongst those who have enough fleece for those 10,000 hours too.....yikes!

Caroline M

You could measure the twist angle as you go along (there's an app for that).

It doesn't matter what it looks like in the skein unless you were planning on pinning them to your body, what does the sweater yarn look like knitted?


What is it that disappoints you about Baritone? It's not obvious from the picture. (At least, not to me.)
It seems to me, in my vastly-less-than-yours spinning experience, that yarn is a result of a collaboration - a dance - between spinner and fiber. The decision of who gets to lead should probably be mutual.
10000 hours, eh? Hmmm...


Your yarn is beautiful, it may not be the perfect yarn of a master (what master?), but it is a suitable, elegant yarn that will make a garment to keep a body warm. In Japanese Embroidery we "stitch towards perfection" and we use what we had make and each stitch was left in place, the goal was to improve as we went. Each piece was more beautiful than the last, and some embroiderers went on to be masters. They left in their wake the pieces of practice that were perfection in their own right and always beautiful. Do not dismiss what you have already created. Life is a deliberate practice.


The link between practice and expertise is one I am still trying to instill in my children. I wish I knew where they get the idea that they can be perfect the first time they try something, every time. :P


I think you need to knit a Baritone sweater!


For so long, I was stuck on 'practicing' my spinning. I had plenty of roving, some from fleeces I'd had processed and some commercial preps. I was afraid I'd piddle around trying new techniques, then end up with just a little less of the fiber than I needed for a finished item.

Then one day I had an epiphany. I designated one fleece worth of fiber to a specific goal: my education. Now if I hear of a new spinning method, or I want to experiment with twist angle, or try some wet-finishing technique on a single skein, or just want to spin several bobbins on one wheel to get more comfortable with the wheel and its adjustments, I grab that box of roving. (It's a very nice white Cormo, the second fleece I ever bought.)

I'm hoping that by the time I've spun that whole fleece, I'll feel confident enough in my spinning to tackle some of the luxury fibers that have been aging in stash.

Melissa G

I too wonder what you don't like about Baritone--maybe a picture is not worth 1000 words.

In fencing, the coach says, "Perfect practice makes perfect," as the kids strive to lay down new muscle-memory. It's harder to unlearn bad habits.

Also, somewhere I read that eventually one gravitates to a default because that's what one enjoys working with. I CAN work with bulky yarn, but I much PREFER fingering weight.

Cheryl S.

That was a very interesting article, thank you. (And yes, I did read all of it.)

I am a poor multitasker. Maybe that's a good thing.


A question comes to mind is how many areas can we be seeking to improve and what is the role of comfort. In other words, if we are pushing our knitting skill, maybe spinning a default yarn provides comfort.


Yet more reasons to keep spinning to make myself happy as opposed to spinning with a specific pattern or yarn in mind. It rarely ever works for me. BTW, your spinning looks great to me.


Perfection is a lie. You know that, I hope. I'm not a spinner, but I do knit and if the yarn I pick and the project don't match, I make something else, both with the yarn and the project. Learning is how we grow and there is no point (beyond death)
that we can stop. Practice must be deliberate or it's just repetition. Repeating what you have already done is craft, practicing to deliberately improve is learning and growing in your craft.


10,000 hours. I am so using that as an excuse for why my handspun still looks like crap half the time. Actually it doesn't look like crap, I just don't have much control yet over what it ends up looking like. Wheeeee! I made worsted! Great, I was aiming for lace!


The yarn looks great. Have a good time at Cummington. This is my first year missing it so I will enjoy seeing what you bring home.


IMWTK--how many fleeces constitutes a godly number? :D See you tomorrow!


I agree with Anne - sometimes the yarn I spin takes a different direction than first planned, so it is repurposed.

I too am a Bliss fan - I've spun 3 braids of the stuff so far and am acquiring a nice stash of it for future spins. I don't buy fleeces - all my stash is already top/roving/batts - so it takes up less space. :)


I'm not exactly sure what it is you don't like about the finished yarn, and how it differs from what you were aiming, but I will say this:

1. Plying twist is alterable.

2. Plying twist is checkable.

If you have too much or too little plying twist, there's no reason to not add more or remove some by running your yarn through your wheel again, either in the plying direction or the unplying direction, to get the twist you want. Use really high tension so that it doesn't add/subtract too much.

I almost always spin for three-ply, and I absolutely do check as I spin.

Add a little more twist (the unwound yarn, not yet on the bobbin never has as much twist as it will when wound), remove the fiber, and pinch below the drafting triangle. Reach with your other hand and hook and pull the yarn with your forefinger, so that your pinching fingers can hook around the singles further on, and grab and pinch with your formerly hooking-only hand. Pinch with your second hand again towards the bobbin. Carefully twist-the-end-and-let go with your first pinching hand as you pinch-and-unhook with your second pinching hand. You have a three-ply sample.

Too tight a three-ply? Tighten up your spinning tension. A sleazy three-ply? Don't be in such a rush to wind on; give more twist (I don't think this is your problem).

Either break off your sample for reference, or carefully untwist and straighten. When I'm spinning a fleece, I will break off my satisfactory sample AND a good length of singles, and wind/tape them around a business card-size piece of cardboard, so that I can compare singles as well as finished yarn.

And actually, once you have a three-ply that you like, make a 2-ply sample of that singles, and use that for quick reference as you spin. Once you have a satisfactory three-ply, the two ply sample is purely to check your SPINNING (not your finished yarn) for consistency, as a gradual shift in singles grist will show up in a two-ply sample just as well as in a three-ply.

Oh and like others, I suggest knitting a swatch before giving in to disappointment. An anecdote because I've already been so wordy anyway:

Way back when she used to mail them regularly, I used to receive samples from Traci Bunkers (two words: yum yum), and I'd often spin and ply them and knit a postage-stamp-sized swatch. One mailing contained a rambouillet-angora-silk blend, very tweedy, not at all attractive. I spun it up, and the singles were ugly too. I plied it and the plied yarn was ugly too. I spun it up, fell deep and hard in love, and ordered a pound and a half, which I am apparently still saving for a special occasion (I bought it to commemorate one of the best decisions of my life: to divorce the narcissistic ingrate to whose faults my biological clock had rendered inconsequential).


And PS one more thing as you look upon your spinning with a gentler eye:

I'm tagging you with a Kreativ Blogger Award - see my blog for the whatwhywherehow.


I might not have enough fleece for those 10,000 hours.. but I have enogh fiber laying around (heh heh)
ruined? hmmm.. perhaps it just did not want to be what you intended for it. Save it - dye it - it's purpose will come. I did my first ever weaving (made a table runner) with my first ever spinning of several styles of handspun - and it turned out the be the most wild, wonky, wonder-mous thing. It lays across my dresser and makes me smile every day..
hang in there - it's purpose will come forward


Even though it looks to be a perfectly wonderful yarn, it just didn't do what you were trying to get it to do. I don't generally ask that much of my spinning so my spinning doesn't usually disappointment me. But I'll bet yours is quite a bit more advanced than mine. I admire your persistance.

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