Thursday, June 14, 2012

What do I do with this?

I've finished my latest spinning project a couple of weeks ago and gave it a bath last weekend. It's lovely, really lovely. The dye just glows on this particular fiber and I can tell that the future knitted fabric will have great stitch definition and drape.

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 . . . )


Dee said...

Summer Flies shawl. I just finished one and it's lovely. Your yarn is lovely!

Jacey said...

Enabler alert: you should totally get the green lace!

Also, this yarn is lovely. It's a great color, and I know you'll do something fun with it. The boot socks sounds like a good idea!

elizabeth said...

I am laughing so much because that's the same color of the Wensleydale I first spun that made me such a fan! Glad you gave it another go, it's lovely! (and I second the idea for socks)

Anonymous said...

Wow, it is sooooo lovely!!! I love that soft rose colour. I'm not sure when I'll finally pick up spinning, but now I know Wensleydale is one to work with!

Jodi said...

Oh, the Wensleydale is just gorgeous! Hurray for giving Wensleydale a second try. I love the Briar Rose yarn -- Chris is a true dyeing genius.

We should get together sometime soon. Let me know if you guys have a free moment -- we could grill kebabs in our garden, or have cocktails or something.

Stephanie said...

I love green as well, although I usually gravitate towards the brighter, lime versions. That really is quite the monster shawl! I think lace weight is too thin for me, although I have this lovely skein in my stash (

You could knit 198 yds of Heaven with your handspun. It's easy to add repeats so you could use all your yardage. Summer Flies was also a good suggestion.