I have just realised that I didn't show you my second skein from Tour de Fleece! What an omission, because it's gorgeous! My second spinning project was very enjoyable, from start to finish. I used a braid of fibre from Spun Right Round. This is a US dyer and I've followed Renee on Instagram for some time, and made lots of "oooo" noises at her photos. I finally caved and decided to pay the International postage and bought some Rambouillet fibre. I've never tried this fibre but lots of other podcasters have spoken fondly of it and I really wanted to give it a go. I am SO glad I did. This stuff is so much fun!
I couldn't resist the name of this colourway, though it was the actual colours that drew me in the first place. It's called Darkside of the Room, and who doesn't enjoy a good pun? The fibre itself is very spongy. It's like super crimped merino.
One of the things that attracted me to this dyer is the way she uses white space in her dying. This means that there will be strong colours that fade into paler ones, and create interesting transitions. It's a type of dying I see more of in US dyers that UK ones, though Fondant Fibre also does it well.
I decided to have a go at doing something akin to "Fractal" spinning. I split the braid in half lengthways and marked the top and then split one half in half again lengthways, making sure I knew which was the top of each section. I then wound the first half into a ball and wound the other two sections into a ball, ensuring that they followed the same "direction" as the first half. The two halves of the yarn were then spun into 2 plies that would barber pole nicely, as one ply would have long repeats of the colour and the second ply would have half the length of the repeats of colour, but there would be twice as many repeats.
I spun the fibre worsted in, what would be on a wheel, a short forward draw fashion. I used my gorgeous Spanish Peacock Tibetan spindle, but really had to work on flicking it slowly enough to ensure the singles didn't get too fine. I wanted to really emphasise the bouncy and warm nature of the fibre. I think it would have been easier to keep the single more even if I'd used a slower and heavier spindle.
In this project, I also used my Spanish Peacock spindle bowl. I have wanted one of these since I saw them all over Instagram after Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. I was amazed when I actually managed to score one on an actual update! The bowl is on the top of a long stem, which makes it easier to hold stable between my thighs. It's got a tiny hollow in the centre of the bowl that the tip of a spindle sits in nicely as it spins, which stops it dancing all over the bowl. In the above photo you can also see a very cheap purchase I made to help with my spinning. I found a great little plastic basket on Amazon, Premier Housewares Plastic Storage Basket with Double Handle - 20 x 32 x 18 cm - White. It was cheap as chips, but it is perfect to rest my spindles in whilst I wind off the singles or plied yarn. As it is plastic, it is sturdy and stable and because it is oval, different places in the basket give different lengths of gap for the spindles to rest in. It also holds my fibre nicely while I'm spinning too. I've used it so much more than I thought I would.
After spinning my singles I wound them into a plying ball and let them rest for a couple of days.
I plyed it together, using my Wildcraft Support spindle, which is nice and tall and slower than my other spindles, it's perfect for plying. After plying I would it on to my niddy-noddy, soaked it for a while, before squeezing the water out in a towel, and then snapping my two hands at either ends of the looped skein a couple of times to pull the yarn into alignment. I then hung it to dry on my airing rack.
The finished yarn is lovely. A really bouncy DK weight yarn is the result of my labour, and it is so squishy!!
I love how the colours look. I really like this technique for mixing up the colours. I think because there is a limited palette of colours used for this yarn, having them barber pole works really well. If there were more colours it could get muddy. As it is, the colours are still bright and clear and should make a really interesting knitted fabric.
I got 225m of this DK weight yarn. There are a couple of thinner and thicker spots because of having to keep on top of my spinning speed, but on the whole it is relatively even and should even out in the knitting further.
I have already planned out what to do with this yarn. The softness needs to be on my neck, so I can't wait to knit it up into The Long and Winding Row by Susan Ashcroft. I really like Susan's patterns as they offer interesting shapes and textures that can really show off a yarn without getting lost or being too simple. I think it will be a fun knit and can't wait to cast it on.
Rambouillet is a really fun fibre to spin and the prep and dye work on this particular braid was excellent. I love spinning this so much, I bought another braid of the stuff in another colourway from Renee. Maybe if love this next braid as much I may sign up for my first fibre club!