Next month’s spinning program is about spinning with beads. I volunteered to learn about it. Unlike last year, I actually started on this several weeks early.
First, here are some sources:
Spin-Off Spring 2004 “Dew drop fabric” by Laura Harrawood p.38-39
Spin-Off Winter 2003 “Beaded yarns” by Judith MacKenzie McCuin p.50-54
Spin-Off Winter 2003 “Beaded Yarns for a Little Scarf” by Judith MacKenzie McCuin p. 57
Spin-Off Spring 1997 “Novelty act” by Stephanie Gausted p.40-43
Spinning Designer Yarns by Diane Varney p.85-87
I haven’t read these yet but they look good:
Despite having read the Spin-Off articles and the selection from Varney’s book, I didn’t follow any of the instructions. Instead, I messed around yesterday. The day before I added the rest of my commercial and most of my handspun to Ravelry stash (pictures not yet added). I also made my Ravelry avatar (an abstract self portrait in yarn). In the course of all this, I set aside some odd bit of samples etc.
1) Silk I spun a long time ago and never plied. I dyed it at a long ago dye workshop and it looked far too much like M’s elementary school daughter (who is now in college). I plied it with a lavender sewing thread on which I strung matte pink delica beads. I used up the thread on the spool before I ran out of the silk (see #5 below). The pink beads are fairly far apart (probably 10-14″ — I wasn’t too exact). It is currently overplied, but possibly OK as a novelty yarn. I used a wide spacing because I thought I might ply it on itself, but I would need to add more twist first. The beads are very subtle on the silk.
2) Wool I spun a long time ago when I was learning Navajo plying. It was overplied. I added more plying twist and then strung #6 seed beads onto it and plied it on itself. The beads are again a close match in color. It is slightly overplied, but not too bad. These beads are about 5-6 inches apart. I ran out of beads before I finished plying, a problem when putting beads onto the yarn before plying.
3) I lightly spun silk hankies with a blue sewing thread on which clear seed beads (size 11) were strung. The beads are probably 3-6 inches apart. Because this is essentially a lightly spun singles, it is obviously not balanced, but I think it is OK as it is.
4) This yarn is from the first roving I ever got (gift from DJ). Some went into a knitting/weaving exchange years back. Some is in my stash. And then there were these two odd bits of thing, not well spun singles in two center pull balls. (I hardly ever get rid of bits of yarn.). I was going to use more seed beads, but then I thought I’d try something odd. I used red tiger eye chips. I used a beige thread (bad choice — it shows very obviously) with stones 3-4 inches apart. I plied the two yarns and thread together. I tried to push the chip stone up between the two plies to help hold it in place, but I often missed and I think the thread would easily snag and break. After I ran out of the stones I had threaded I plied the rest of the yarn. I then cabled it on itself. This one made a horrible clatter when spinning and sometimes got caught on the hooks. One or two of the chips also wouldn’t go through the orifice without fiddling with them.I think the yarn is really ugly and can’t picture using it, but it is a good experiment/sample. The good part about the beige thread is that it is obvious, so I can probably extract it from the yarn if I want.
5) For the last sample, I strung size 11 orange seed beads on lavender thread and plied the remains of the silk from #1 on itself. As with the stone chips, I tried to put the seed beads between both silk plies. The beads are 1.5-2.5 inches apart. Since the silk is plied on itself, the color is more muted than for number 1 and the yarn is heavier. The orange beads provide much more contrast to the yarn (and are a bit bigger than the pink beads).