How did you spin that yarn?

Natalie's Scarf - the skeinThis yarn was spun on a whim, planned as it went along, and inspired by my stash. And, since today is my birthday, my treat to myself is to share its story with you!

For those who flip to the back of the book, here you go:
330 yards
4 ounces
14 wraps per inch
6 twists per inch
balanced ply

Here's how it came about. When The Bellwether started carrying fiber from Crosspatch Creations and Three Bags Full, they would send me little samples of new colors so I could place my order. Tiny little dabs, they just filled a 1 x 1 ziploc (not stuffed full, either -- did I say these were tiny little dabs?). Being a collecting sort of gal (have you seen my spindle collection?) I kept them, of course.

Eventually, the lovely Montana ladies stopped sending samples, as I'd gotten a healthy feel for their fibers and didn't need them any longer to place my orders. So I knew that was it, the collection was complete.

Along came an NwRSA board meeting and spin-in, in Olympia. I took a car of items -- a few tubs of spindles, some Totally Tubular Spinning Kits, my Journey Wheel, and the collection of dabs to spin.

Natalie's Scarf -- strandsI'd dip into the sack of dabs (still in their baggies, so they were like little minnows in the sack!), pull one out, and spin it. Come to the end, take a new one in the same blind-choice manner, join it on, and spin that onto the bobbin. Again, and again. It was a great day -- I got through almost the whole bag!

While I was spinning it, I considered my options -- ply it on itself, or ply it against a neutral? I knew from past experience that I could ply it against a white and get a pastel look. I'd heard (at that point, I hadn't tried it yet) that I could ply it against a black to get a jeweled look. But I was thinking I'd like to try something more middling, a nice brown perhaps. The fiber in Joan and Diana's flocks is alot of California Variegated Mutant (CVM) and Romeldales (they are active in the breed association), along with Romney crosses and Merino crosses -- so overall, a nice hand to the yarn that deserved plying with a nice naturally colored fiber from my stash.

Once I was back home again, I finished off the bag and then I weighed the bobbin and a sister empty bobbin. It was almost full, and it turned out to be about 2 ounces of fiber. Into my stash I dived, and came up with a nice, soft brown CVM roving from the Estes Wool Show.

It brought back great memories of the trip ... I flew to Colorado on "credit card miles" to visit my parents, and as my mother is a knitter it didn't take much convincing before we were on the road to Estes Park. She treated me to a lovely hotel room there, and we had a blast shopping and browsing the sheep, goats, and llamas there. That was where I bought my Little Gem wheel (now with a new forever home, happily treadling I bet -- sweet little travel wheel that it is), from Woolly Designs. It was a treat to meet Tracy Eichem, the owner, as he makes lovely spindles. At the time, he was not turning them, but I'm happy to say he's at it again!

I spun up the brown CVM and plied that together with my colorful mixed bobbin, into a lovely balanced yarn. My daughter saw it and said - wow, make me something! So it was a skein destined to be a scarf. I knew, as usual, she'd move on to other skeins and colors -- mom (me) is a slow knitter, so her appetite is usually fueled by far more yarn than I can knit with. So this skein is now a lovely future-scarf, or future-hat for its future knitter. It's a bouncy DK weight (14 WPI) 2-ply in fine wools, silk, viscose, tencel, and silk noil -- great for most as next to the skin wear.

A search on Ravelry found 1,314 patterns for 200-325 yards of DK weight yarn including these two lovely patterns -- Odessa, a cute spiral hat from MagKnits (available now on Ravelry) and Argosy, a lovely easy lace-look scarf from Knitty. Those or any of the 1,312 others would look terrific in this yarn. Its multi-color nature is muted by the soft brown, which gives it a great earthy look, sure to match whatever you're wearing.

Natalie's Scarf - at skein's endThe footnote to the story is I found one unspun little sample baggy after finishing the skein -- in it went to another collection of ends-of-runs, destined for a future skein. I think it has even now been spun up, if not needlefelted into one of my daughter's pieces of needle-felted art!

Care instructions: handwash cool, dry flat. This yarn may felt if machine washed. Recommended knitting needle size: US 4/3.5mm for solid stockinette; US 2-3 for very tight ribbing; US 9-10 for lace (or larger).

If you've fallen in love with "Natalie's Scarf", the skein may yet be available for purchase on the Etsy shop my daughter and I have set up, By Our Hands, or on The Bellwether. I'd love to see what you turn it into!


Anonymous said...

That was an interesting story; thanks for sharing it!

Peg in South Carolina said...

This is wonderful! I very much like plying two different yarns I've spun from Crosspatch Creations etc. Much more subtle than making 1 strand white or black. But i had never thought of trying a neutral color for the second ply.

Dave said...

Very interesting story. It's good to read how and why people do what they do -- helps fuels the imagination. :-)

Happy Belated Birthday, and I guess since it's today now, Happy Thanksgiving!