Spinning a Blend for a Hat-along

Yes, yes. Yes. It’s a Ravelry group. What did we ever do before Ravelry?!?

I’ve been making alpaca blend worsted weight yarn for a mystery hat-along. The project takes 4 “colors.” I spun the first hank using tan alpaca fiber from Robin Crane’s famous “Reggie” and wool from one of Margrett Stretton’s amazing dark brown Gulf Coast sheep. I spun a 2-ply yarn, very supple and soft, that regained it’s hairy/fuzziness once knitted.

The second leg of the project demanded a new color. So, I decided to stick with the alpaca as a base color. This time, I chose to blend with more of Running Moon Farm’s (Margrett’s farm) Gulf Coast Native – cream colored fleece. I took pictures to document this process of making a blended roving by hand.

combed-alpaca-reggie

Here’s a box of washed and combed alpaca fiber from Reggie. The dark tan is the soft soft blanket. The lighter color is coarser hair with great luster.

washed-gcn

This is about 3/4 ounce of freshly washed Gulf Coast Native locks. Not a terrific photo, but look close and you can see the incredible fine crimp. This is soft, springy, fairly fine fiber that loves to be blended.

stack-of-alpaca-gc-blend-batts

This is a stack of batts taken off of my handcards. The alpaca and GC fiber is about 50:50, and unevenly distributed. This will make a softly hearthered yarn with a lot of visual interest. I make a stack of 6 batts before I pull the first “pre-roving.”

getting-ready-for-first-pull-alpaca-gc-blend

I turn the stack of batts on their sides, and pull from the bottom, making a fat long “rope” of fiber.

first-pull-alpaca-gc-blend

This is the first pull.

recarding-alpaca-gc-blend

The first pull has to be recarded. Here’s a carder full of the recarded blend.

pulling-alpaca-gc-roving

The recarded batts were stacked up and here we go again. This time the roving is pulled out with a slight twist that helps to keep the roving together.

alpaca-gc-blend-roving-2

Here are two balls of roving (center and right) that┬átotal one ounce of fiber. These two balls will be spun into a single. Two more balls will be spun into a second single. The two singles will be spun together to produce a soft, lustrous, fuzzy worsted weight yarn. I’m┬áspinning on my Fricke, scotch tension, at a ratio of 8.7:1.

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Ravelry Strikes Again: New Shetland Yarn for SKP

shetland-for-skp

And then, I found this group on Ravelry…

This Group is SKP…the Sock Knitters Pentathalon International…a group of passionate, talented knitters who will knit 5 pairs of socks over the course of the year. The first challenge was posted a while back…the 1st of February…and I am well behind. Even more behind than usual, as I’ve decided to spin my yarns. Many of the knitters are posing challenges for themselves within the challenge.

So here it is…the first leg of my challenge…a few ounces of 2 ply Shetland…which, I must add, matches my hair exACTly. The Shetland has its own story, but let it suffice to say that this is the remains of an 8oz bag of roving that I won in le tour de fleece a couple years ago. I made one pair of gansey socks from 60 g of this wool. And nearly wore them out.

This yarn measures 26wpi, is very soft, and beautiful. I will be knitting toes and heels with a contrasting yarn…in all likelihood a Border Leicester 2 ply. This will give me the added strength that I want. The sock pattern is a fine gansey. I believe this yarn will suit the sock perfectly.

Lovely, n’est-ce pas?