Irish Moss, starlings and dandy lions

[Note: I actually wrote this…oh, about two months ago, and promptly forgot about it. So here you go. A random yarn post, as I frantically try to finish up all the things I need to do before Christmas on Sunday!]

a pile of yarn, awaiting their bath

a pile of yarn, awaiting their bath

I have been working my way through my stash of roving at a fair pace, I suppose. Since the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, I have managed to finish several new skeins – a golden brown bamboo and thread mix (I had actually purchased the roving for that back at Maryland Sheep and Wool in May), and two different colorways from Hobbledehoy Yarn and Fiber. Plus, I had a couple of finished plys awaiting their final bath before being twisted into skeins.

We had one last blast of warmth after I returned from Portland two weeks ago, so I took some time to dunk the yarn in a bucket and set it out in the sun and breeze to dry.

I don’t have any fancy tools to help when setting the img_20161022_155007_496yarn…most of the time I just move an old pallet out into the sun and plop the wet yarn down on it. However, since the pallet hasn’t been sanded down and is left in the elements, it’s not the smoothest of surfaces, and it can snag the yarn when I move the skeins, so I don’t really like to use it that way.

This time around, I repurposed an old tomato cage as a makeshift drying rack. As I removed each skein from the bath and wrung it out lightly, I draped it over the top of the cage, careful to balance the weight distribution.

The cage worked pretty well, allowing air flow all around…though if the breeze is one-directional, I suppose the skeins hanging on the back side of the cage might take longer to dry.

I left everything out for several hours and took Mom out to try dinner at True Food (which may have just become my favorite restaurant). The temperatures dropped pretty quickly once the sun went down, and the air was feeling much less like fall and more like winter by the time we got home, but the extra wind seemed to work to my benefit, and most of the skeins were dry. (The one exception being the dang bamboo, which seemed to retain water more than the other fibers)img_20161023_022203_453

The list of newly finished skeins are:

  • Hobbledehoy Yarn and Fiber. Colorway: Dandy Lion. Merino/Silk mix. ___ yards, 2 ply. Spun from a 4 oz braid.
  • Hobbledehoy Yarn and Fiber. Colorway: Irish Moss. Merino/Silk mix. ___ yards, 2 ply. Spun from a 4 oz braid.
  • Colorway: no real name, but I’ve been referring to the finished product as Rumplestiltskin. 121 yards, 4 ply (chainplied bamboo with cotton/metallic thread). Spun from 1 lb bag of bamboo fiber, and two spools of crochet thread.
  • Kraemer Yarns. Colorway: Rose Gray. Alpaca/Merino mix (70/30). 152 yards, chainply. Spun from 4 oz.
  • Homestead Hobbyist. Colorway: natural. Finnsheep. ___ yards, chainply. Spun from a 4 oz. ball.
  • Knitted Wit. Colorway: unknown, but I have been calling it skittles. Polwarth/Silk mix (80/20). 146 yards, 2 ply. Fractal spin. Spun from a 2 oz braid.
Sadly, this picture doesn't capture the true color of this yarn.

Sadly, this picture doesn’t capture the true color of this yarn.

Next, I started work on some of the roving Mom purchased at Shenandoah: Starling, from HipStrings. It is extremely soft – merino and mulberry silk – and the color is beautiful. The base is black/extremely dark blue, with some lighter blue and purple streaks throughout the roving. When it is spun, the lighter colors become even more blended, but you get a beautiful shimmer in the light…just like the feathers of a starling. Mom bought two braids and I am finished spinning the singles in fairly short order. Before I started spinning the full braid, I made a small sample, showing her both a two-ply and a chainply, so she could decide how she wanted her yarn to look. She opted for a two-ply. The specs for her yarn are as follows:

  • Hipstrings. Colorway: Starling. Merino wool/Mulberry silk (75/25). 398 yards, 2ply. DK weight. Spun from two 4 oz braids.

I’ve also started processing the two fleeces I purchased at Shenandoah, albeit more slowly than I intended. I did a quick sample with those, as well, trying to decide how I want to spin them up. I’m still debating whether I want to spin the Shetland into a fine laceweight, or a fluffy worsted weight.

Decisions, decisions!

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