The ever-changing algae

Bundled in with my fantastic spinning machine was this very lovely fibre from Spunky Eclectic (from whom I ordered my wheel). I was kind of afraid to spin it. Not because I really loved the colours. More because of the alpaca content. I’ve NEVER spun alpaca as I hear it’s kind of slippery and tricky, not for beginners which is where I figure I am on the scale of spinstertude. I mean I did (sort of) spin some silk and I’ve spun some bamboo but that doesn’t make me an expert by any means.

But after looking at it longingly a while, I decided that the 80% Correidale probably keeps the alpaca from being a tricky spin so I decided to just jump right in. Plus this is a colourway that Spunky Eclectic repeats so I could always buy more if “needed.”

I split the length of roving in half, divided it up into manageable lengths and split those in half longways so that I could spin in 2 batches and have even colour changes in both halves. So I think each half of the total roving had 4 half strips. I then divided each of these half strips into eight (I think — I go more for nice smallish size of strip so I can draft + spin directly without too much fuss). As I divided up a half strip of roving, I interspersed it in between the previously divided pieces (ie. A B C D A B C D A B C D…), the idea being to end up with colours evenly distributed along the skein and not ending up with drastic colour changes like this. I even tried to keep the strips in a specific order to try to get the colours to match up once plied.

When I was starting to spin I was pretty sure I was going to chain-ply this. But partway through I decided it might make a nice 2 ply. So it was a good thing that I kept my half roving strips in order so I could spin both halves in the same order to get things to match up when plying. I’m a little more organised about these sorts of things now.

‘Algae’ Spunky Eclectic
20% Alpaca 80% Corriedale
4 oz.

How has my fibre prep changed now that I’ve moved onto a wheel? Well I prepared all I needed to spin the 1-ply of singles (so half the total fibre), spun it up, then prepared the other half. I kind of find the fibre prep somewhat tedious, though of course it is necessary to achieve the yarn envisioned. I do what I need to get a decent yarn. However, I aim for fairly even and good colour distribution not factory perfection so I tend to take shortcuts in the fibre prep department.

Also I’ve only actually used 1 or 2 of my handspun yarns since starting to spin. I could learn more about how my yarns turn out by actually using them I’m sure. For me, I enjoy the making more than I’m concerned about getting a perfect-to-knit with yarn. I spin because I like spinning not because I want the perfect yarn to knit with.

I’m really happy with how the yarn turned out. There are lovely bits of the solid colours and these really gorgeous parts where the colours transition. It’s delicious. But something kind of sad happened.

I guess the dye hadn’t quite been set on the roving. And when finishing the yarn, the yarn over dyed itself in it’s own juices and got a green overcast. It’s still really nice, just not what I had originally spun. When I look at it, it’s like I need to adjust the RGB balance on my eyes. I think I need to not look at it for a while so I forget what I think it’s “supposed” to look like.

NB: I’m NOT dissing Spunky Eclectic or any hand-dyed product. I’ve dyed fibre/yarn myself and it is entirely possible for something not to completely set. I’ve spun other Spunky fibres and have had no such issue with them. And I’d gladly spin Spunky fibre again.

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