Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Skein is Born

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on three bundles of roving at my new favorite yarn shop, Yvie's.

And was immediately convinced that they were meant to be together. These lovelies were made by David Simpson's Green Dragon Yarns, and they were each 50 grams and imaginatively labeled "Random Colors."

As I was spinning the singles I discovered that this fiber, the bluer roving, was Merino wool, and the sandier rovings were Corriedale wool. After some deliberation, I decided that this probably wasn't a problem, since you can buy all kinds of yarns that are blends of different types of wool, silk and other fibers. I was planning on spinning each of the rovings separately and then ply the singles together to make a three-ply yarn. Now it would just be a 33% Merino, 66% Corriedale three-ply yarn.

Spinning the singles was a very different experience, though. Merino wool is a very fine wool, silky smooth. (I may or may not have rubbed this roving all over my face at random intervals, just to glory in the remarkable softness. This behavior was looked on askance by 'Stache, who flatly declined to participate.) This smoothness makes for a glorious yarn, but the making of that yarn is a little tricky. Corriedale, which is a slightly scratchier, more work-a-day yarn, and it sticks to itself, just a little. This is an advantage when you're spinning it and helps you control the roving to make a smooth, even single. I found Merino to be quite slippery, and many times the roving slipped out of my hands and the single broke off.

But I managed, and the singles plied together to make a lovely yarn. 

And then I set the twist of the yarn (if I didn't, it would unwind) by winding it around my makeshift niddy-noddy (normally a niddy-noddy made with PVC looks like this, but I couldn't find any T-joints), poured steaming hot water over it, and let it dry.

And voila! A 160 yard skein of good, sturdy worsted yarn. The colors remind me of a turtle shell with a streak of blue in it. I'm pretty crazy about it, because 'Stache has approved it as being sufficiently neutral to make a hat or mittens for him or my brother or one of my three brothers-in-law. Masculine and yet non-boring yarns are wickedly hard to find, and now I've made one! 

I haven't decided exactly what its destiny is, and so right now it is beautifying the world by being a yarn-pet, which is another practice at which 'Stache looks askance. 

In case you're unduly impressed by my spinning yarn, go watch this video. It's the easiest magic you've ever seen! 

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