Rolags: A Love Story

I try to be a monogamous spinner and only work on one project at a time. Mostly, it’s because I only have 4 bobbins and don’t have a way to store extra singles. I also don’t want to confuse my hands spinning several different yarns at one time. If I get bored, the proto-yarn mellows out on the bobbins until I feel like finishing it or a more interesting spin comes along. This might be a problem when I start spinning more than 4 oz of fluff at time. My monogamous spinning is why it’s taken me so long to spin that wonderful rolag from last month’s spinning guild meeting. I even had a free bobbin ready to go. So, the rolag just sat there, tempting me with its softness and novelty until until I had no choice but to empty my bobbins. The orange and purple handspun that came off turned out wonderfully, but more more on that later. Back to the rolag.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I drafted out a few fibers and started spinning. Turns out that the rolled up fiber was easy to draft as long I didn’t keep a death grip on it. The guild demo last month recommended long draw  and it is definitely the way to work with this prep. The resulting single was a little wild and gave me some good practice with double drafting. I didn’t try to get rid of all the lumps and bumps, they’re part of any woolen spun yarn. I just evened out the largest lumps and tried to keep the irregularities somewhat consistent. Does that sound contradictory? Yes. But was it fun? Yes. I even started looking forward to the interest and color from the bits of silk noil. They add interest and a nice pop. 

The color of the finished yarn surprised me too. Unspun, the rolag’s brown, blue, and green blended together into a heather. To tell the truth, I was reminded of a very large dust bunny. Spun, however, the colors are distinct and quite visible. It’s like knitting with a semi-solid yarn instead of yarn that’s been dyed as a solid. You get to see and enjoy all the nuances and tones that go into a color instead of just one solid note. 

I wish that I had more than just 14 yards of this yarn. It’s soft, fluffy, and wonderfully cushy. I want to knit a hat or even a cowl to cosy up in. Even if I do manage to duplicate the rolag with my extra fiber, I still won’t have enough yardage for either. Just going to have find the right pattern for these few precious yards. 

Before I return to petting this yarn, I want to thank the Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild for holding a demo on woolen spinning and prep. Who knows how long it would have taken me to kindle a love of rolags if the teacher hadn’t given me one on a silver platter. Now I’m researching hand carders, blending boards, and drum carders. I even turned a giant batt into 37 fauxlags, AKA fake rolags. Those things are fun to spin too which is great since I have 30 of them to spin.