Tour de Fleece update!
Well, my goals for TdF are going pretty well! (if by pretty well you mean that there’s no way I’ll ever finish before the end) I, however, am not in the least cast down by that. I have gotten two lovely yarns so far, which I’m just itching to show you!
First off, this is some merino from Three Waters Farm (I have all the love for their stuff.) Isn’t it perfection? I did a fractal spin, which basically just means that I split half of it up into little bits to get a subtle stripe. It looks like that worked, though it’s hard to tell from the photos. It came out to about 290 yards of a sport/DK weight, and it is just smooshy and bouncy and cushy like you wouldn’t believe.
Secondly, I got this lovely bit of business. This is a merino/silk blend from Pigeonroof Studios, and it was simply a dream to spin. The colorway was Honeybee, and I think it is perfectly apt. I love how the colors in the fiber look almost glazed. It’s too lovely! I wanted the colors to be in little pops, so I split it into many thin strips on the advice of my Internet friends, and it worked like a charm! The benefits of having smart people at your virtual fingertips 😛 This will almost certainly be a shawl, if I can make the design in my head a reality. I spun it as a low twist fingering weight single, and got 460 yards out of 4 ounces. That’s some of my best yardage yet!! It’s a little thick and thin, but I find that that’s part of its charm.
Finally, I will show you the definition of “biting off more than I can chew.” I had this lovely white mulberry silk that I originally bought to ply with something else and then later decided against it. So it was just sitting around, waiting for its destiny to be made manifest.
However, when I was at the Massachusetts sheep and wool fair (yeah, I went to that) I found something that would elevate it to pure art. There were these amazing prime angora carded batts, perfectly white and soft and airy like little clouds. They were heartbreakingly lovely, the way things are when they’re almost too perfect. (I have a serious love of angora, and I’ve never felt nicer angora. That’s saying something.) I only made two purchases at the festival, and this was the only one for me. I got two wee batts of this, and I imagined it plied with the mulberry silk. I thought of the softness and fuzziness paired with the smooth sheen of the silk, and I was inspired. Then I started spinning the silk singles, and let me tell you, it was NOT fun. This wasn’t the first time I had spun silk, but it was my first experience with mulberry silk sliver. I wanted it to be thin and even and smooth. It wanted to be lumpy and to fall apart at the least hint of too much tension. I kept trying different spinning methods, different drafting methods, any way possible to get it to spin nicely. I tried everything to beat this stupid fiber into submission, and it fought me every step of the way. I thought I would spin it up in an evening, whip up the angora the next day, ply them, and be on my merry little way in two, maybe three days. That was so far off it’s laughable. Three ounces of silk took me three days of near constant spinning, one of which was a Saturday. Not only that, when I would get up from spinning, I would look like silk worms had attacked me. There was silk EVERYWHERE. There would be silk in my hair, in my nose, stuck to my shirt, it was maddening. Add to that that I felt like I was spinning like someone had hit me with a stupid stick, and it was just entirely too much. When I finally got to the end of the silk, I favoured it with my opinion of its character and morals (of which I did not think highly) and did an obnoxious little victory dance because it was finally finished. Want to see?
Pretty right? It looks innocent, but I assure you that it quite shook my confidence in my ability as a spinner. I wanted to challenge myself to spin finer than I had ever done before, because it could just be such brilliant lace, but the fiber compounded the challenge dramatically. After that, I moved on to this.
Isn’t it just like a lovely little cloud? Don’t you want to bury your face in it? I eyed it with some misgiving, since the silk had me quite cast down, but once I started spinning it was like all of that had never been. The angora was a dream to spin. It just flowed through my fingers, effortlessly turning into beautiful, soft, fine singles. It was pure pleasure, and much needed after my horrible experience with the silk. The only thing they had in common was that the angora was inclined to cover me in a thin layer of fuzz as well, but I found even that to be charming. After a very short while spinning, I finished the angora. Here are the singles side by side:
Now I’m going to ply them, and I really hope that the reality lives up to my idea of it. (it would really be a shame to be disappointed after all the work I put into it.) I think it will though. I have never spun finer singles, so I expect to get really good yardage from these! I’ll let you know what happens when it’s all plied up. And after that I’ve got this: