Last year we set two Sparrows Tweety and Sojourner out on their first of many adventures. The Sparrow Migration Program was born out of the idea of sharing adventures and bringing the community together. This was program was designed to allow the participants to spend two weeks with a wheel, to take her on an adventure, and send her onto her next destination. Tweety and Sojourner both have a journal where their spinner caretaker can write about their journey together and include photos of their experiences. We also included a community bobbin where each spinner would spin 5 grams on the bobbin with the end goal of having a community yarn that I would chain ply at the end of the migration.
The first migration wrapped up at the end of January this year and I was sent the journals to scan and community bobbins to ply up. The first thing I did was look over the journals. It was so amazing to see all of the experiences each person had with the wheel. It was so inspiring to see all read about all the different adventures. We invite everyone to download and read all about Tweety and Sojourner's adventures.
I love that not only do we have a written and photographic record of their adventures but we also have the yarns spun on the community bobbins. Each person got to spin 5 grams of wool onto the bobbin. I was anxious to see what all was spun on each bobbin, to see the colors, textures, and weight of singles spun.
I knew that the community bobbins would bring on new challenges for me and I wanted to get to know the singles spun on each bobbin before I tackled chain plying the yarns. I decided to chain ply the yarns in order to keep everyone's yarns together so we could see and identify who spun each section of yarn. I normally don't rewind my yarn but for these two bobbins rewinding was going to be a must so I could see each yarn and determine if any precautions were needed or if anything needed additional care such as extra twist if there was a need. Luckily the Daedalus wheels make it extremely easy to rewind bobbins with the ability to switch from Scotch to Irish tension. I set up my Teal/Lime Sparrow in Irish while I had the community bobbins on my Black/Teal Sparrow so that I could wind the bobbins off the original bobbin and onto a new one. This allowed me to see and feel each yarn. It was so fun to see all the singles and I decided to rewind the bobbins an additional time that way I could capture the bobbins filling in the order they would have been filled during the migration.
Once the bobbins were rewound it was then time to ply! The recording of the plying can be found below and I've also created timestamps to pin point the starting of each person's yarn so if you'd like to see a particular person's yarn it'll be easy to find. I decided to ply on the Starling V3FP both for bobbin size but also because the thick and thin that Su spun was already pushing the limits of the Sparrow so I would need the larger orifice and torque to ensure that the chain ply of that section would go smoothly.
The plying of both yarns took me approximately an hour and a half! This was indeed a challenging ply but in ways I had not quite anticipated. The most challenging part of plying these yarns was due to the varying size of the singles which ranged from super fine to bulky thick and thin. There was also a variety of wools with some like Wensleydale not lending itself well to being chain plied. The variety in sizes meant that the amount of twist needed for each yarn would also vary which is a bit weird when it's all one contiguous yarn.
In order to handle this I at some points in the spin had to increase the speed or decrease the speed and adjust tension as needed such as needing extra tension for the bulky plying areas while the super light weight areas needed less tension. When I skein off my yarn I out of habit skein off at a great distance from the bobbin to help even out the ply twist but for this yarn that was a mistake! By doing this I lost twist in the bulkier areas and ended up having to run the yarn through one more time to ensure all areas had a sufficient amount of twist.
The finished yarns! It was amazing to see all the variety in the skeins between colors, textures, and WPI. Make sure to click on the images below to see a closer look at the skeins.
The finished yarns will be woven by Becca to be displayed in future festival booths. I'm looking forward to seeing these two skeins woven up and cannot wait to see what adventures the next Migration has in store! Stay tuned for more news about the Sparrow Migration for 2022 happening this summer! - Evanita