L – R: Indigo dyed GCN blend singles, Indigo dyed Curly/Bing worsted weight 2-ply
Every want to duplicate a yarn? Well, I’ve been known to fall for a pattern along the way, knit from some dang un-standard spin. This time, it’s a series of hats, Elizabeth Zimmerman style, originally knit in Sheepsdown, a peculiar fat singles spun from extraordinarily long staple fleece.
Well, my sheep have fleece varying from 3″ to 7″ and even 8″ long – if the shearer doesn’t find his way to the farmette before June! Believe it or not, I have a couple of those tucked away. Ram fleeces. Big, brawny, messy, and soft as all get out. Most of all, the fiber is long and strong – rams and wethers seem to have such an easy time of it.
I took a bag of un-dyed ram that I’d washed a couple years ago, and a bag of indigo dyed ram that I’d dyed last summer, and weighed out about 4 oz each. Then, I hauled out the drum carder and went to work. A lot of picking later, I had a few terribly flooofy batts, and went to work at Ramona, my ailing Fricke.
Okay okay, we get into ruts. We fall into habits. We take the easy road. I’ve tried, really hard, to avoid the trap of spinning the elusive froghair. I am not a laceweight knitter. With eyes this old, I can’t see laceweight stitches on the needles! So I don’t bother. My fatal flaw is this: I spin for knitters, not solely for meditation. This isn’t something I’m doing just for my mental health. This endeavor is a practical one. And this time, I wanted to knit someone else’s idear that had been designed with a giant fat single. Sheepsdown, if you look up the specs, and I don’t have them in front of me, so don’t quote me, measures out to about 85 yd per 4.4 oz. Yeah, that is b i g and airy. Consider my normal bobbin full of DK-worsted weight yarn is from 150 – 200 yards per 2.5 oz. I needed to get A LOT of air into my spin. So.
I pulled my drive band over the biggest of big gears – (less twist), and tightened my tension tighter than I ever had before (faster draw). As I worked, I found that the further apart I could keep my hands, the more air I could draft. And faster. Work faster. Took a few seconds before I found just the right combination of hands and tension and speed. By the time I was done with the first 1.5 oz, I had 46 yards of pretty decent giant singles, and I was – happy. No, Happy, with a capital H.
There’s a little more carding to do lateron, and a bit more spinning. Tomorrow, this batch of glorious loftiness will get a wash, and then I will knit. It’ll be a fast knit. On big fat needles. And then, then New Year can start with no complaints from me.