All week I said to myself, “I’ll write a post as soon as I have this yarn finished. It shouldn’t take much longer.” Well, it did take longer.
I started spinning the laceweight yarn that I sampled a last month. I used some merino-bamboo fiber that I bought from Weaving Works forever ago; it doesn’t have a brand name or anything. It’s a 50-50 blend which is shiny and silky and spins up just as nice as it looks.
I sampled using just the color above (a color that I started to call in my head “Steel Teal”), but I wanted a little more depth and interest in my final yarn. I also had some darker, bluer fiber of the same provenance, so I decided to use that as an “accent color” sort of thing. I don’t have a good picture of it, but keeping with my theme I called this color “Steel Periwinkle.” Which sounds a bit like a private eye in a bad detective flick.
I didn’t have any way to blend the fibers before spinning. I couldn’t use my handcards for two reasons. First, the fibers were too long. The carding surface on mine is about 3 inches tall, which means I’ll just get a snarled mess if I try to card any fiber longer than that on them. And second, I was going to spin this worsted, which is a combed preparation, so carding it to spin short draw seemed counter productive. What I ended up doing was inspired by this free PDF article from Spin-Off. I split my teal roving (by this I mean I tore off a hunk, then split that lengthwise into four portions) then tore off a similar sized hunk of periwinkle and split that into eight to twelve portions. That way, the teal was the main color, but I’d get varying amounts of periwinkle in there- just a little for interest.
Of course, I realized after a few hours of spinning that I hadn’t weighed my fiber to see how much I had or divided it in half for even plies. Being lazy, I decided that I would just spin until the bobbins looked about full the same amount. By some miracle, this worked! I ended up with about 3 yards of extra on the second bobbin, not even enough bother with! I was rather shocked, actually.
I ended up with about 2.3 oz (66g) of two-ply mostly laceweight yarn. Now, this yarn has enjoyed jerking me around a bit. When I was spinning the singles, I always felt deep in my heart that the half-bobbin was never going to be enough for a shawl. But as I was plying, I was sure that I had overshot my needs- it went on forever. Then when it was washing, I just knew that I didn’t have enough- that it couldn’t be enough for a shawl. But when I re-skeined it (which again took forever) I thought that I had plenty. When I weighed it and it came in at a measly 2 ounces and change, I was pretty upset. Until I looked at a few millspun yarns and realized that they’re often sold in 50g hanks and I had 66g, so I was pretty well off.
I say “mostly” laceweight because I drifted around the target thickness some, and to be honest the majority of the yarn is just slightly heavier than a true laceweight. Somewhere between a “light fingering” and “lace” really. But, then again, I really dislike working with the super-thin true laceweight so maybe it’s for the best for my first try. All in all, I’m pleased as punch about this yarn.
To prepare myself for spinning really thin yarn, I watched “Spinning for Lace” which I got as a download from the Interweave Knits store. It was a big help. Margaret Stove is great. The main thrust of the video is spinning with superfine merino, but a lot of the information carries over to other fibers. I particularly like her method of holding the singles during plying. It’s been the most comfortable for me so far and offers great control.
Now I just have to design a shawl and knit 60-65 inches of it. Piece of cake.