Thursday, June 4, 2009

Variety in Laceweight

I have been working on spinning laceweight. This is important because I have 4oz of gorgeous silk top and coordinating ultrafine Merino top waiting to become enough laceweight for a shawl. To facilitate this (and to not screw up a limited quantity of a uniquely dyed batch), I purchased another 4oz of Tussah Silk top from a different vendor so that I might practice.

The four cards pictured above are about one gram of material, each. And each time I tried spinning slightly differently. The first was "lets get a feel for silk, and make sure it's laceweight thin". So I was trying moderately hard to spin thinner than I usually do. The second card is "let's see just how very thin I can spin silk on this spindle". The third is moderate-thinness, but one ply is silk, and the other is some of my random unknown top (probably BFL). And the last is silk/wool spun to what I consider my "default" single weight. This is what I revert to spinning whenever I stop thinking too hard.

The funny thing is they are all laceweight. The last one is the thickest, and it's right around 24 WPI. I think the pure silk ones are 30+ WPI. So really, how thin does laceweight have to be? (Really, Andrea. How thin?) When is it too thin? My WPI-gauge page tells me that anything over 16 WPI is "laceweight" (AskTheBellWether says 18+WPI). But that's a huge range. I've seen pictures of people spinning frog hair so thin you'd wonder if there were more than three strands in it at any one point. But that would be "cobweb" weight (and a quick internet search here in another tab reveals AskTheBellwether's references of cobweb weight at 40+WPI).

So I guess my answer is somewhere between 18 and 40 WPI. That's still a huge range! And it doesn't really tell me what knits up nicely into a shawl. I've decided to spin my practice lump of silk on my "default" single and see what it becomes. If it's a little thicker that's okay. I have a lovely shawl pattern picked out that's written for lace-to-fingering weight and I'm good to go.

But what's really driving me crazy is that I've missed two weeks of my "knitting night" already, and I'm going to miss another two. I can't sit down with anyone and get their personal opinion on these samples, and I still won't be able to actually SEE anyone until the 22nd.

I don't suppose anyone will be at BSG on Friday morning? I'm thinking about roping someone into a little childcare and taking off to ravage the marketplace solo for a couple of hours!


Anonymous said...

we miss you, girl!

The Bon said...

I'll be there Friday morning.

Geek Knitter said...

Well, there's laceweight and there's cobweb. I've got some cobweb and quite frankly it scares the crap out of me. I'll be lucky if I can work it on 1.5's!

I'll be in class on Friday morning, so sorry.

Take care, come see us when you can.