Sunday, April 26, 2020

Anything But a Nightmare

My pile of pandemic-spun skeins has grown bigger in the last few days. After spending a few days spinning up all the singles, on Friday morning I plied them all. I let the yarn rest on the bobbin overnight and then skeined and washed it yesterday. I wish the lighting were better to show you how stunning this yarn is -- these photos just don't do it justice (thank you, rain that will be here all day!).

This yarn was spun from a set of batts that I bought at SSK when I attended back in July 2017. One of the classes I took at the retreat was on spinning batts with the extremely talented (and delightful) Jillian Moreno, so it seemed appropriate to pick up some batts at the marketplace from Liz at Hobbledehoy, who is not only a talented fiber artist but also an extremely nice human being who I became friends with at the retreat. She called this set of batts "Nightmare batts" for some reason known only to her. They contained a blend of organic Polwarth wool, bamboo, yak, silk, and a touch of sparkle. Does anything in that list sound like a nightmare to you? Me, either!

There were three batts in the set, so I spun each onto its own bobbin. The singles were spun long draw, to match the woolen preparation of the fiber, and then plied into a traditional three ply. Fresh off the wheel, the yarn appeared to be in the area of heavy fingering to sport, but then it had a bath and the magic happened: One of the signature characteristics of Polwarth fiber is that it often poofs up when washed, and that's exactly what happened to this skein -- it bloomed into a super squishy DK/worsted.

I love how the fiber prep combined with the method of spinning results in a more rustic yarn that's a little more inconsistent -- I think it adds great character to the yarn. I have about 265 yards, so enough for a smallish project, and I'm fairly certain that a purple-loving 10-year-old is going to claim it for something for her.

I've already lined up the next spinning project, again dug from stash from a couple of years ago. I'm not 100% certain what it is, though I know it was a HipStrings club shipment and I think it's the August 2018 shipment that contained a blend of BFL and Shetland in natural colors. It came in the form of four bundles of fiber, and as you can see, I've split each shade into three portions.

My plan is to spin another traditional three ply and do it as a natural gradient, so each ply will use one bundle of each of the four shades. My splitting and spinning are just inconsistent enough that the transition between the shades is likely to be in a slightly different spot in each strand, which should result in more subtle transitions. I haven't weighed the fiber yet, but I think I have 2 oz. of each shade, so I should end up with a pretty sizeable skein when I'm done (I'll have to break out the long-ignored miniSpinner to ply it all!). I think it'll make a fantastic and cozy shawl -- but first things first. I'm planning to start on the spinning later today, and though I've been on somewhat of a tear through my fiber stash, I think this might take a little longer to get through than recent skeins.


  1. That purple skein may just be one of your most beautiful so far! I think all of your spinning is lovely, but the color, depth, fibers, and sparkle all make it something very special. Lucky Rainbow and I'm looking forward to your next spinning project!

  2. Oh man, that purple skein is gorgeous. It will be fun to knit. The grays are beautiful too. When did you start spinning? I love the idea of spinning but wonder how long it would take to become proficient. It seems complicated.

  3. Gorgeous! I can't wait to see what you decide to do with the purple :)

  4. Jillian is one of my favorite people. I had the joy of taking a class with her (and Carla Kohoyda-Inglis of Cjkoho Designs) at Beth Smith's shop back in the day! The teacher was Janel Laidman where we were dubbed "the triumvirate of naughty"... yes, it's sadly true! (But, I learned so much from Janel despite our naughty-ness!)

  5. That is such a beautiful skein, and the new fibre is - WOW. So shiny!!! The only reference to nightmare I can come up with is that the purple reminds me a little of some pokemon who have nightmareish characteristics, but that is ... very far off.

    I am so inspired by your spinning, and I hope you have a great week!

  6. I do love that purple yarn ... and I am most intrigued by the gray. (still no desire to actually try spinning ;-)