Spinning Adventures

Last year I started learning to spin on a drop spindle. I’m interested in learning about  different sheep breeds and their wool, and I think the best way to learn is to get my hands in the fiber and spin it. I’ve amassed several different types of single-breed roving and, since I recently purchased a lovely new drop spindle,  I decided to try spinning some of them. Most of the fiber was purchased at the Carolina Fiber Fest this Spring.

First up, some Icelandic fleece roving from Heelside Farms (http://www.heelsidefarms.com). That’s the one with the swatch on the left. I can’t believe how beautifully this turned out. I was able to spin it very fine and create a 2-ply fingering weight yarn (~20 wpi) that is next-to-skin soft. Look at that beautiful halo! This is begging to be a baby garment or a fine lace shawl. I just need to get some more of it – I only bought a 2 oz bag to try it out.

Next up was Navajo-Churro roving that I purchased in 2 natural colors from Stoney Mountain Fiber Farm (http://www.stoneymountainfarm.com/) on last years Piedmont Farm Tour. The sample of the lighter color is on the far right above. This stuff is pretty coarse and has a fairly long staple. After spinning a 2-ply sample I decided that this would make a nice weaving yarn and so I will probably try spinning some warp 2-ply and singles for weft for my table loom. I think I’ll try weaving some small table decorations.

Third, I spun up some Finn sheep roving, in the middle of the photo, also from Heelside Farms. I have fallen in love with Tuku Wool yarn (see my Rionnag Cowl design), which is made from a blend of Finn sheep, and I love this natural light gray color. I spun it into a 2-ply sport weight yarn (~16 wpi). I’m not sure this is the best use for this particular fleece, so I don’t know what I’ll make out of it. Probably some further sampling is in order. It’s fairly soft, though, and would make nice garments or accessories.

I also recently finished my first spinning project, from about 4oz of two-color Jacob fleece acquired from Humbug Farm (http://www.humbugfarm.com/Index.html) at another farm’s festival. I separated the two colors and spun them separately, then plied them together for a marled yarn. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and I gifted it to my brother for his birthday.

Jacob yarn

 

More to come. I still have several fibers to sample, including some CVM/ Romeldale and Cormo combed top to try out.


Introducing the Rionnag Cowl

Rionnag6b_small2Introducing the Rionnag Cowl, a lightweight, yet warm cowl that’s perfect for those cooler spring days.

This cowl design started with the colors of the wool, specifically a natural gray, a heathered blue, and an orange.  I was digging through the new basket of Tukuwool Fingering at my local yarn shop – they had recently started carrying this yarn and I wanted to check it out. The first thing that caught my eye was these gorgeous heathery colors, both the natural undyed grays and the dyed colors, and I just thought these three colors played nicely together.

Meanwhile, I have lately been collecting books on fair isle, both vintage and new. A motif in A Shetlander’s Fair Isle Graph Book had caught my eye. I saw the combination of stitches and immediately thought ‘cowl’, so I drew it out, bought a fourth color of the Tukuwool, a beautiful dark brown, and began swatching.

The image I had in my head was a gray cowl, that is, I wanted the background to be this lovely natural light gray shade. But when I swatched the motifs using that as the background, they just didn’t pop. And so I selected a few smaller motifs and tried again, swatching with both dark and light backgrounds, but I just couldn’t get the proportions of the colors right. However, I was really intrigued by the small Norweigan star motif with the darker background – only I still wanted a light gray cowl! So I swatched again and settled on a gradation from light background to the motif in the center with the darker background, back to the light background. And so Rionnag was born (Rionnag means ‘star’ in Gaelic).

The Tukuwool Fingering is a beautiful wool for colorwork. Though it is woolen-spun, it has just a tiny bit of a sheen to it that really highlights the depth of those heathered colors. It’s well worth searching out for this cowl.

Rionnag is available here. From now until March 15th, 2018, any two cowls in my shop are 25% off, no code needed.