As I’m sure you gathered from my earlier post, I have learned lots of things since I started spinning a year ago:

1) When the wheel falls off of the spinning wheel during a “test drive” you might want to walk away.
a) unless you have a handy fix-it sort of husband that will enjoy putting it back together
b) and unless you can ignore the wheel going thu-thunk a lot

2) Sheep are dirty. Sheep that clear fields for a living are dirtier.

3) Washing, picking, and hand carding is a lot of work; pick a good fleece, and don’t trust the farmer to know what a good fleece is. (Especially if they don’t spin and don’t breed for fiber. Good intentions will not make a better fleece.)

4) Spinning evenly is harder than it seems that it should be. Practice helps.

5) Setting the twist can undo a lot of problems with plying (thank goodness!)

6) A properly tensioned wheel is very important. You get better yarn and a more pleasant experience when not trying to channel the leg strength of a world-class soccer player in order to make the wheel go. Unless, of course, you happen to be a world-class soccer player. Then you might not notice that your wheel is fighting you. You still get better yarn when your tension is right.

7) When the wheel fights, you should probably listen.

The list looks surprisingly short when enumerated.* But then, it’s constantly growing. Today’s item of choice?

8) Do not underestimate the power of yarn bloom.

Yep. That’s right. You get a (relatively) even thread, you ply it up, it looks like a worsted-kinda weight. You cheer inwardly (and maybe a little outwardly, too) that it’s finally getting thinner (i.e. not the knit-on-size-17s that the first yarn became).

And then you wash to set the twist.

We all know what happens when you wash wool. It goes from crumpled and sad-looking to light, airy, and – should we say – fluffy?

This is yarn bloom. The reason that hand-washing a closet full of sweaters is a rewarding task. Because they look so much better afterward.

Well. Lightly spun, somewhat uneven yarn has lots of little spots that are a little less twisted than others. These are ideal locations for yarn bloom.

Even the not-so-lightly spun areas are good locations for yarn bloom, because this is wool, and that’s what wool does.

All of this to say that a worsted-looking yarn turned into what I would classify as super bulky. Size 10s were a little small to work with this yarn. I knit with them anyway, and the product can now (literally) stand up on its own.

This is ok with me, because the product is meant to be thick, warm, and weather-proof.

Branden is very amused that they can stand on their own. He kept standing them up around the house like little sentries. I asked if he was mocking me. He put them on. He’s smart like that.

The simple knit-purl woven texture gets a little lost in the *ahem* texture of the yarn, but I hear the mitts are very warm. And they are made from handspun.

I thought he might deserve a special knitting project, especially considering all of the work that is going into the KnitChart software (it’s still coming, I promise…it’s been through a couple of big redesigns, and we’re now at the final bug-hunting stage).

This is the yarn I made just before taking my class, so I’m excited to see what the after-class yarn will look like. I know it spun up into much thinner singles, so I’m hoping it might manage to keep yarn bloom at bay.

*I am sorry for the horrible formatting of this list. I lined everything up nicely in Blogger’s compose window, but it doesn’t seem to want to actually put things where I told it to. It’s late, and I don’t feel like fighting it in html tonight. Hopefully it’s readable as-is.