Chiengora a la Bronson

Unadulterated Great Pyr

A few years ago, I was asked to spin some Bearded Collie. I had never spun dog hair before…but agreed wholeheartedly. The dog papa never came through, and I held, in the back of my head, a fantasy of Bearded Collie yarn. Then an issue of Spin-Off featured chiengora spun by readers. Mmm. I wanted to spin some puppa dog! Buy my dog is an Australian Cattle Dog who, apparently, doesn’t shed.  What to do?

Within 2 weeks, I was handed 3 gallon bags of Great Pyr. One from a fellow musician who has a horse hobby farm and 2 Great Pyrs as LGDs, and two from a fellow musician and artist whose Great Pyr, Bronson, protects their critters on their 100 acre farm.

The other day, I pushed my way through bags of fleece and samples looking for moths and striving to organize the chaos in the studio. There I found a list, “Bags 7 & 8, Bronson, Great Pyr.” Mmm. With the goal of finding Bags 7 & 8, I did an amazing job in record time. I just really wanted to check out that Great Pyr fiber.

The contents of Bag #7 were clean, but I gave them another rinse in 7th Generation Lemongrass & Clementine zest dishwashing soap. After spinning Reggie in the morning, clean previously washed alpaca fiber, and coming up with black fingertips, I wanted the experience of soft, smooth, clean fiber between my fingers. The Great Pyr fiber dried very quickly. I carded it using my Howard handcards, dividing the bag into 8 piles of 6 batts. I pulled a roving from each pile, ending up with 2 piles of 4 rovings each. I was aiming at a worsted-bulky 2-ply yarn…something that would be a joy to knit.

Using a low ratio on the Fricke, I spun 2 lovely, hairy singles from 4 rovings each. Plying them with low tension, made for a fabulous yarn. The resulting yarn, shown above, is heavy and luscious.

Reggie Redux

“Reggie” Fine Alpaca Singles

Here’s a puff of alpaca…105 yds of medium/fine weight singles. Alpaca makes a tender yarn, so these singles are a bit overspun. When knit, they relax.

The first of a pair of fingerless fiddler’s gloves. Very fuzzy, very cozy, yet, knit from fairly thin singles on size 7 needles.

Spinning Winter Yarns

Gulf Coast Native Thick & Thin with Natural Dyes

This is a skein of extra special EXtra soft GC Native yarn. An ounce and a half and 46 yards. Outrageous.

Purple Ruffles Basil meets Mohair Blend

We had an outstanding year in the basil garden. I grew both Genovese for the farmers markets and for our own pesto cravings, and Purple Ruffles Basil for dyeing. I sold some of the purple basil plants, and kicked myself after I found out what a great dye it makes.

This is a 2 1/2 oz, 74 yd skein of Mohair/Wool blend handspun. The locks were dyed with Purple Ruffles in an acid bath. This is a heavy lustrous yummy yarn. This skein screams “HAT.”

I found, quite by accident, that a pH shift makes for interesting changes to the color. This steely gray shifts right over to a dark celery green with an alkaline rinse.

A Funky Hat Yarn

Kinda gorgeous, n’est-ce pas? This is 4 1/2 oz and somewhat over 200 yd of Gulf Coast Native/Mohair blend. This was spun from a handpainted handpulled roving, plied with natural brown and cream GC fleece. This cbp is destined for at least one more hat…tho this ball of yarn is definitely big enough for 2 hats.

I’m out of hat kits, and figure that after knitting one more hat (O the Holiday Season!), the 2nd half will go into a funky hat kit. I have a new pattern that is pretty exciting…a spin-off of Ray’s Hat. This yarn would be stellar. Then again…a 1 x 1 ribbed elfish hat would be outrageous, too.

Gulf Coast meets Marigold

Here is a 3 1/2 oz/174 yd skein of natural brown GCNI and cream GC singles, flecked with marigold. A big soft hearty skein. I find myself not putting it in my etsy store, not taking it to the farmers market. I love this skein of wool.

Fleece Study – Navajo Churro

This began as 3 1/2 – 4 oz of raw Navajo Churro that I received as part of a fleece study. I spun this yarn in the grease. What a lot of grease. This would be the perfect fleece with which to start an FSM (fermented suint) project.

The final clean yarn weighs in at a bit over 1 1/2 oz and 200 yd. This is a soft yet hairy fingering weight yarn. Ooo La Laaaaaa!