The popsicle batts are finally done! I'm really happy with how they turned out. The plan for this yarn is a knitted cowl with lots and lots of bobbles. A friend came over last Sunday to learn to dye, and she taught me how to knit bobbles while we were waiting for the dyebath to heat up. It was a really awesome trade of skills, and particularly enjoyable since she speaks no English and my Chinese is still quite limited. There have been some other interesting yarny developments. I finally got around to watching the quite excellent "Start Spinning with Maggie Casey" video download from Interweave Press. I learned several important things from this video.
1. I have been spinning In some strange non-standard way for more than ten years. I learned to spin in a four hour workshop, and apparently I've been doing some sort of self-taught variation on the short forward draw ever since. I make good yarn with my weird technique, and it works great for combed roving, but not so great for funky carded batts.
2. It really is important to let your singles rest before you ply them. This makes a huge difference.
3. It is also really important to clean and oil the wheel between bobbins. This also makes a huge difference.
4. Snapping a damp skein before hanging it to dry really does seem to distribute the twist more evenly. Magic!
The result of all this new info is that I'm working on my long draw. It's taking some time, and it's weirdly enjoyable to be dumped back to the beginning of learning how to spin. I wouldn't say that things had gotten dull, but I'd gotten into a bit of a rut. Once I've got a bit more practice completed, I think I might even try to spin some singles.