Close-up on the flyer of a spinning wheel, with a partially filled bobbin of lilac-colored singles.

Spinning Yarn for a Sweater

Several years ago, I was gifted about a pound of hand-dyed fiber from a non-spinning acquaintance who knew the dyer. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to try spinning a sweater quantity of yarn. I had done some sampling, but hadn’t yet been brave enough to attempt a sweater spin – until now.

My friend didn’t know what the fiber content was, so the first thing I did was to do a bleach test and a burn test to figure it out (find out how to do them in this post) I knew it had to be a blended fiber because some of the fiber was clearly more resistant to the dye. I suspected a wool/ semi-synthetic blend, and my tests confirmed it. The fiber is probably merino blended with tencel or another rayon-type fiber.

Flatlay of a brain of lilac-colored spinning fiber next to a small pile of

After some sampling, I decided on a 3-ply yarn – my aim is for a DK-ish weight to knit Joji Locatelli’s Recoleta cardigan (Ravelry link). Given the color and fiber content I figure this will make a perfect spring cardigan.

Flatlay of two knitted swatches, the top featuring a lace-and-cable pattern in worsted weight 3-ply yarn, the bottom a stockinette swatch in the same yarn.
My sample swatches for the Recoleta cardigan.

I’ve discovered that the bobbins from my Ashford Traddy fit my Ashford Joy flyer, which is perfect since I only have three Joy bobbins. I can spin on the Traddy bobbins and ply onto the larger Joy bobbins. The fiber is a bit matted from dyeing or storage, so I’ve had to pre-draft it well, but once it’s fluffed out it’s been relatively easy to spin. (The Summer 2023 issue of Spin Off has tips for opening up compacted or felted yarn – I may try steaming and see if it works better than simply pre-drafting.)

I’m about halfway through the first bobbin so far – I’ll keep you posted how this one goes!

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