Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Joys of Sampling

I will readily admit that I have at least one bad habit when it comes to my spinning. Though I am adamant about swatching when it comes to knitting a sweater, I never take the equivalent amount of time to sample when I'm spinning. That's mainly because I usually spin yarn the way the fiber seems to want to be spun rather than trying to spin a particular yarn for a particular pattern (and this might be why there's so much unknit handspun in my stash), but I'm also a bit lazy. When I want to spin, I want to sit down and get right at it. My knitting is so much more portable than my spinning, so that means that spinning time is limited to when I'm at home and therefore constitutes a smaller portion of my overall crafting time.

So, when I got a small amount of fiber to try out from my LYS, it forced me to confront this bad habit. And while it's still a bit early yet to say this for certain, it's possible that this small exercise in sampling may have changed my ways.

As a reminder, this was the fiber. Though I didn't weigh what I had to start with, I think it was about an ounce total that I split into three roughly equal parts.

This was a BFL/sparkle blend, and with this colorway, the fiber and the resulting yarn looked rather metallic, which was a cool effect. I decided to spin the fiber three different ways: as a singles yarn, a two ply, and a three ply (chain plied). Here are the resulting mini skeins:

And a detail shot, so you can see the texture and composition of the yarns a little better:

The singles yarn, on the far left, is roughly fingering weight and looks a lot like Tosh Merino Light; I have approximately 42 yards in this little skein. I was pleased that after finishing, the skein looked as balanced as you could hope for a singles yarn. If I were spinning a full skein like this, I'd be a bit rough in the finishing to full the singles a bit. In the middle is a two ply, approximately 33 yards. It's very well balanced and would be lovely for lace. On the far right is the three ply (chain plied to maximize yardage). It it a lovely round yarn, and the loop ends aren't as obvious as I thought they'd be given that BFL is a longwool. I have approximately 27.5 yards.

I quite enjoyed this sampling process and the fiber. It drafted evenly and beautifully, though if I had one complaint, it's that the sparkle content seemed to be a bit concentrated rather than blended in. I found that I was able to blend it a bit more while drafting, though. I like all three yarns I made, and I'd have a tough time choosing how to spin this fiber blend without having a particular project in mind from the get go. I do hope that my LYS decides to carry this blend, though, because I think it would be a fantastic way to add a little bling to something (like as an accent in a sweater or in some accessories).

I must've caught the sparkle bug from this stuff, because look at what followed me home yesterday:

Frabjous Fibers Merino/Sparkle blend in Trapeze
In truth, I'd seen and admired this a week ago but resisted. Yesterday, after thinking about it all week, I realized that I had to buy it. I'm planning to spin this up into a barberpoling two ply, worsted-ish weight, for a hat and (if the yardage allows) mittens for Rainbow for this winter. Or maybe for me. We shall see.

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