Can I say I have deep stash of fiber if I’ve been spinning for just under 2 years? Because, if anything qualifies, it’s this bump of fiber I’ve had sitting in my stash for over a year. The fact that I checked the Dawning Dreams shop for few weeks to make sure it was still available makes it seem like I’ve had it even longer. I was drawn to the color, a gradient that started with pale peach and ended with fire orange, and wasn’t concerned about the fiber, so long as it was wool. I finally succumbed to the pretty and ended up with my first 4 ounces of superwash merino. When I opened up the box, I was not disappointed. The fiber was soft and lustrous. The colors were everything I expected. Properly documented and swooned over, the bump went into the stash to wait for me to spin it up.
I was finally ready to spin it last month. So, I split the fiber lengthwise down the middle to preserve the gradient and got to spinning. Thanks to reading multiple blogs, I expected superwash merino to be slippery and, having spun slippery things before, thought I was prepared. Not so much. My experience spinning slippery fiber on spindle didn’t transfer well to spinning slippery fiber on a wheel. The learning curve was rather steep.
Spinning the first few yards went well enough, so I kept going. Every thing was going smoothly until the single was just sucked up into the orifice, leaving my confused hands and the rest of the fiber behind. What just happened? I finally did find the end and started pulling it back through the orifice only for the single pull apart. Repeatedly. At the time, it seemed like I was destroying yard after yard of precious handspun. In reality, I probably only lost a few feet of singles not worth plying. I finally did get back to a strong section, joined, and started adding a lot more twist.
Frustrating as it was at the time, spinning superwash merino has made me a better spinner. It got me out of my comfort zone and away from my default yarn. It made me experiment and troubleshoot. I learned that making small adjustments to a wheel’s tension and take-up can drastically affect twist and the final yarn. It’s one thing to read about it and another thing to witness it first hand.
The finished yarn is every bit as lovely as that bump of fiber I just had to have. It’s lustrous and soft with wonderful drape. It would be the perfect yarn for a shawl. If only I could pick a pattern.
Fiber: Superwash Merino dyed by Dawning Dreams
DK to sport weight, 11-13 WPI