Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wild Wood Thick and Thin (2.5oz/100 handspun yards)

Over the past couple weeks I've been blogging about the roving I dyed with natural ironwood. I did list some Ironwood Merino in the shops, but I also saved wool to spin.

The first yarn I made was Ironwood Stripes. It is pretty typical of the kind of yarn I like to spin. I went back and forth between my lighter and darker shades of ironwood wool to create a striping yarn and I added some Firestar for sparkle.

Then I got to thinking. I've gone to all the trouble to dye two shades of wool from wood shavings, I should make some yarn that reflects this wild and natural process, something with more personality and life to it. The result is my newest skein of yarn that I named Wild Wood.

The first thing I did was card my two wools. I layered the light Merino over the darker BFL and wound it through my carder. Then I sent it through a second time to blend it even further and to make it light and lofty. This created the wool batt that I used for my thick and thin single. Because half of my fiber was BFL, I had some nice long fiber and could make pretty long thick sections without compromising the stability of my twist. I had a good time making my thick and thin single.

Next I had to make a lace weight for plying. I spun this from one ounce of the lighter Merino wool. I knew one ounce would be more than enough to ply my two ounces of thick and thin. Spinning lace weight yarn has become second nature to me. I can sit and zone out in front of the TV and have a couple hundred yards in no time.

Finally I was ready to ply. I started off slowly. I really haven't made a thick and thin in a long time, maybe not since those unintentional ones you spin in the early days of learning. My main concern was that I would over spin my ply in my need to make sure my thick areas were secure. I was pretty happy when after a soak in a warm water bath, I picked up my hank of yarn and it hung nice and straight. That's really the Ahhh! moment in handspinning. Isn't it?

I feel like this skein of yarn is more worthy of the wool and the process. I like how the thick areas are a little carefree and wild. Consider. It all started with a gift jar of finely ground ironwood. I imagine a knitter with a large pair of needles whipping up a scarf that's soft and full of texture. That would be a scarf with a story to tell.

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