Aaaaaahhh!! Where did April go? I can't believe it's April 23rd. The month started out with a trip to Indiana and only built from there. It's been a really busy month and all of my blogging habits bit the dust. Actually, my fiber craft in general bit the dust, and it's time to get back on track with it. This probably explains my recent irritability - I must be in severe wool withdrawal.
I did manage to finish my Femme Fatale yarn by the end of March, just in the nick of time for the Spindlers monthly challenge. So I will reconnect with my blog by publishing the details of this yarn.
I'm really happy with this yarn! It is the finest and most consistent yarn I've produced to date, and I have decided to submit it to the upcoming Shepherd's Harvest skein competition. There are a lot of excellent spinners in this region, so I don't expect to win anything, but it will be a lot of fun to add my yarn to the competition. It means I've reached an important milestone for my fiber craft - I feel confident enough about my skills in order to submit my work for judgement.
To refresh everyone's memory, the Spindlers group in Ravelry has a monthly challenge, where a theme is announced and whoever wants to participate must start & finish a spindle-spun yarn within that calendar month. March's theme was Femme Fatale, which was very fun to interpret in yarn. (Here is my announcement of this yarn project, and the update in the middle of the project.)
I created a seductive laceweight yarn in jewel tones, using handpainted BFL wool & tussah silk blend fiber. My plan was to spin a very fine yarn with lots of drape and as much luster as possible. Using a one ounce cherry wood spindle and worsted drafting, I started spinning very fine singles. I was very careful with my drafting, making sure that I evenly drafted out the wool & silk together. It's easy to draft the longer silk fibers out of the blend, leaving the wool behind in your fiber hand, and I wanted to avoid that problem. The singles averaged 70 WPI:
I spun two singles, which I then plied together to create the final 2-ply yarn. Since this is a worsted yarn, I finished the yarn very simply, just to set the twist and not to full the yarn in any way. I soaked the skein in hot water for several minutes, changing the water a couple of times, but that's about it. I pressed out the water, snapped the yarn over my wrists a few times, then hung the yarn to dry without any weight on the skein.
The finished yarn is beautifully balanced, with no overspun or overplied areas. It has a lovely drape, not much elasticity, and a really pretty shimmer from the silk that is evenly blended throughout the yarn. Mission accomplished! Eventually, this yarn will become a scarf or shawl. I'm researching patterns for it and haven't quite made up my mind yet. Any pattern recommendations are welcome!
The final yarn:
BFL wool & tussah silk blend
2-ply, worsted drafting
2.5 ounces (70 grams), 42 WPI (laceweight), 500 yards