Thursday, 2 October 2014

Fondant Fibre Organic Merino

I am so behind on my blog posts, I don't know if I'll ever catch up. I apologise for my disappearance over the last few weeks. My absence is because of changing the format of my podcast. I am moving over from audio to video and it has required a lot of my brain power and energy as there are many different things you need to set up in order to record, edit, process and upload a video podcast as opposed to an audio one. I think I'm nearly there on getting all my ducks in a row and that has left me a little more time and energy to get back to my beloved blogging. If you are interested in checking out my video exploits just click on the podcast button at the top of the website or check out my YouTube channel where you can subscribe to the videos. If you subscribed to my audio podcast you should be getting video updates in the same way.

Whilst on the subject of blogging in general, I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who messaged me about my 6th blogging anniversary. I still can't believe I reached this milestone and I wouldn't find it half as pleasurable if you didn't read and comment on the posts.

A piece of spinning, that I finished some time ago, used some gorgeous fibre from Fondant Fibre. It was organic merino fibre and the colourway was Inked.

I was really attracted to the colourway of this top and that is why I bought it, rather than buying it for the base. This was the first time I'd used this fibre and I have to say I am SOLD! It is gorgeously soft and bouncy the way all merino should be, BUT, it has more texture. If you are a beginner spinner this would be a great entry into spinning merino. Merino is not an easy fibre to spin because it is so slippery, but this fibre has more grip and therefore is a dream to spin.

As all the colours blended so well I decided just to spin the yarn end to end, worsted style, and not worry to much about colour management. I used my Enid Ashcroft Bocote Tibetan Spindle.

This spindle is a pleasure to use and has great balance. Combining the spindle with this fibre made this such a fun project. I cannot express how much of a pleasure it was to spin without much forethought and to go just end to end without any pre-drafting, because it wasn't needed.

As always, I made two plying balls with half the singles on each, and then created a plying ball with the the two singles held together. I don't mind this hand winding of a plying ball as it helps even out the tension and twist, which makes it easier to ply.

I often use my Wildcraft Support Spindles to ply on, as the carbon fibre shafts are long and thin which means you can pack a LOT of plied yarn on it. It means that I can get roughly 50g of finished yarn on the spindle, sometimes more and sometimes less.

I have to say that the video download The Gentle Art of Plying, has really helped to transform the way that I ply my yarn. The whole video is taught using a spinning wheel but nearly all the information was relevant to using a spindle. It really helped to see the close ups of what the yarn looks like when singles are put together and twist added. Seeing how all the singles look before and after plying really was informative.

I soaked the finished yarn for 20 mins, squeezed it out and then gave it a few quick "snaps" before hanging it up to dry. This yarn feels even and the plying is balanced. This means the yarn is bouncy and soft and I can't wait to knit it.

I got 289m/316yds of a sport weight yarn, which is a reasonable yardage. I like to try and find projects to match up with my handspun yarn when possible. I've been thinking that I could probably get something small out of this; a hat, mitts, cowl or small shawlette. I think a really basic hat that would show off the yarn would be Simple by Alicia Plummer. It's a lot like the Sockhead Hat (of which I have three!).

© AliciaPlum

I might just use this pattern as inspiration, and do something different with the brim, maybe a folded stocking stitch brim, as I have a bit more yarn than is required for this pattern.

© Caitlin Hendrick

In terms of mitts, I really like Loch Lomond by Kendra Hope. I think these simple and elegant mitts would really show the yarn off. My only worry is that a loosely spun, 2-ply merino yarn may not stand up to the rigors of being worn on the hands. They are very pretty mitts though, so I'm really tempted.

© 2012, Heidi Haywood

The Leaf Lace Neck Wrap by Heidi Haywood looks like a nice straight forward and fun little shawlette that is more like a scarf. It would be gorgeous to wear this yarn around my neck and this pattern would let me do it.

It's tough to decide, but I will try and narrow it down from these three choices. Who knows, I might end up adapting one of the ideas from these patterns and doing something similar, but not identical. I'll let you know, eventually, which direction I take with this yarn. Until it's knitted, however, it is definitely a squishable and pettable skein of yarn.


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