Monday, January 03, 2011

Spinning 2011: The Sweater Project

After many years of failing to keep my new year's resolutions, I have pretty much quit making them. This year, however, I've decided to embark on a pretty ambitious project for the year. Some time ago, I inherited about two pounds of naturally colored wool from a friend who had learned to spin and then decided it wasn't for her. It's been sitting in my stash ever since while I've entertained myself spinning dyed fiber, and late last year I decided that it was time to tackle it. It is a mystery wool -- soft enough that I can bear to spin it but also "tough" enough that it should make a yarn that will wear well. The label calls it "natural black" in color, which really means a deep chocolate brown (in real life, a little darker than it appears in this photo).

The goal of this project? Spin up this fiber into yarn and knit that yarn into a sweater. I haven't selected what sweater I will knit yet -- I'm waiting to see how much yarn I can get from the fiber before I pick a pattern -- but I'm trying to spin a three-ply worsted weight yarn. I split up my first pound into little bundles of an ounce each and am spinning one ounce at a time. As of last night, I have finished spinning singles from two ounces and have started in on the third. The plan is to spin all the singles (I have a large collection of empty toilet paper rolls waiting to hold the singles so that I have free bobbins for spinning other things) and then ply. I was worried about getting bored with spinning only naturally colored fiber for a long period of time, but so far I'm enjoying it; an ounce is also an easy amount to spin up, so I can take a break between ounces.

To clear off my bobbins in order to start spinning my sweater yarn on January 1, I finished up what was on my wheel on December 31 -- Welsh top from Crown Mountain Farms, the September 2010 shipment. I spun the singles from the fold for a two-ply heavy worsted weight yarn measuring about 115 yards. I don't love the feel of this yarn -- it's definitely way too rough for next to the skin -- nor did I love spinning it, as it shed all over the place, but I did love the colorway (Walpurgis).

I finished 2010 having spun up all but two of my CMF shipments; one of those will definitely be spun, one may never be spun. Another fiber going into the definitely will be spun category is the first shipment from the 2011 fiber club, this South African top in a colorway called Celtic Glow.

This should be a perfect break from my sweater yarn when I get sick of "natural black"!

1 comment:

  1. Where's the thingie to press to express "jaw on the floor impressed?"

    This is an ambitious project, but I have absolutely no doubt that you are up to the task. I can't wait to watch your progress from pile-of-fiber to beautiful handknit, handspun sweater!