So why the hesitation?
I have 340 yards of roughly dk-weight (yes, I know I really should start thinking of this in wpi) 2-ply Wensleydale. Sheen, drape, and stitch definition are all well-known qualities of Wensleydale fibers but did you notice what descriptor was missing? That's right - soft. This is not yarn for next-to-the-skin wear.
So it'll probably become some sort of accessory. Right now I'm thinking socks - the sort of nice, maybe cabled, boot socks worn over sock liners so I wouldn't have to worry about the scratchy bits. An iPad case has also come to mind but that doesn't seem quite right. Thoughts?
Regardless of what the finished product turns out to be, this was a really fun fiber to spin.
Elizabeth gave me a gentle nudge about a year ago when she suggested that I really should try this fiber again. I'd spun up a braid of Fleece Artist Wenselydale/Teeswater (in green, of course) several years ago and had mixed feelings about the experience. The spinning itself was a breeze but I discovered that I couldn't fix any mistakes while I was going. My attempts to tease and stretch out thick slubs in the singles turned into a wadded mess - an unpleasant contrast to the smooth and sleek "untouched" singles.
When I started this project (a 5 ounce bump of Wensleydale top dyed by Chris of Briar Rose, who I just discovered has a new lace yarn in my favorite shade of green, but I digress), I was leery of trying to fix mistakes. It's actually kind of freeing to tell yourself that you'll take whatever yarn comes along and not worry too much about the little imperfections since they all even out in the end. But if you are a bit of a perfectionist like me, ignoring what should be fixable mistakes is tough to do. So I tried fixing a thick spot (pinching the singles above and below the problem section, untwisting the fibers, and gently tugging (re-drafting) the fibers to achieve the desired thickness) and it worked! It looks like my hang-up with Wensleydale was an issue with the fiber preparation of the first top I tried, not with the fiber itself.
I'm absolutely thrilled to discover this since Wensleydale takes dye beautifully and its long staple length makes it a quick and easy fiber to spin. Now if only I could figure out what to do with it!
(Shoot, remember that green lace yarn I linked to above? I can't seem to get it out of my head. There's a particular Anne Hanson giant lace shawl that I've been mooning over for years that I think would look really lovely in this particular shade of green. The two skeins that Chris has in stock would be perfect for it . . . )