I was told that once I started to get the hang of woolen long draw, I'd find it somewhat faster than the worsted technique I've always used before–a technique so slow it is not infrequently referred to as the "inchworm" method.
You who said this to me, you were not kidding.
When I first got the Ashford and was all gung-ho about spinning, I was content to do it two or three hours a night, every night. That investment of time–once I got up to speed–yielded one small bobbin of thin singles in three months.
Three months. You can gestate one-third of a human baby in three months.
And when I was finished, what did I have? One bobbin of singles. A small bobbin. Do you know what you can knit with one bobbin of thin singles? Bugger all, is what you can knit. Which is why most basic spinning books have a section called, "Yes! You Can Knit with Singles!" It's there to keep you from killing yourself.
So you read "Yes! You Can Knit with Singles!". You look at the pictures of the, um, "arty" suggested projects. And you say to yourself, "Yes! I can knit with singles! But I'm certainly not going to!"
What I did instead was chain-ply my singles. Chain plying (which you'll also find referred to as Navajo plying) allows you to make a three-ply yarn from one bobbin of singles. It's supposed to be terribly advanced and tricky; but nobody told me that, so I was able to do it without much fuss.
I had enough finished yarn to make a small hat. I did. It was an okay hat.
Then I had an empty bobbin again. I started spinning again. But not as frequently. I was discouraged. It took me a year to fill the bobbin. I'm not an adrenaline junkie, and I don't knit in the first place because I get kick out of instant gratification. But I realized that it if I wanted to spin enough two-play yarn for a pair of mittens I was looking at a year (at least) of dedicated, nightly spinning.
I began to wonder what my wheel would look like if I converted it into a planter.
Then I just stopped spinning.
All of the above is just prelude to help you understand the blinking stupefaction I experienced last night when I realized I had spun the entire batt. I honestly figured the Tour de Fleece might give me enough oomph to get through half of it in a month. Instead, we're on Day Six and I am finished with Stage One of the spinning.
I have two bobbins, not full but fullish, roughly evenly. Look.
So, yeah. Long draw is somewhat faster than inchworm. Also, e-mail is somewhat faster than learning ancient Greek, using it to write a letter to your mother, stuffing the letter in a bottle, pitching the bottle into the ocean, hoping the bottle will wash up next to your mother's beach chair, and then remembering your mother can't read Greek.
And now, at last, I can try my hand at a two-ply. That's today's challenge.
Bathing Drawers News
The yarn for the Victorian bathing drawers that I'll unveil (for better or worse) on the Nautical Knitting Cruise arrived this morning.
It's Quince and Co. Chickadee–stout, pure American wool, worsted spun. (I love worsted spun yarns, if someone else is doing the spinning.) I haven't wound it into balls yet. I'm just staring at it. It's perfect. I would use unaltered hanks of Chickadee to decorate the Christmas tree or the top of my wedding cake.
The colors are "Bark" and "Frank's Plum." I've decided to take the advice of the original pattern and jazz up the drawers with stripes–but not the Weldon's editor's suggestion of white and navy. For one thing, I fear the white will turn transparent when wet and stretched. For another, my curvaceous posterior does not require assistance from broad, high-contrast stripes. From behind, I would look like a crosswalk. As you can see, these two colors are very similar in value, so the effect will be extremely muted.
I was tempted to go with a somewhat lighter brown, called "Twig," so that I could say I knit myself a pair of drawers in "twig" and "plum."