The Glory of the Fiber Club

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Tiger Lily was the August installment of the Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber Fiber Club. I was introduced to the Fiber Club after winning a subscription during the 2013 Tour de Fleece. I had never really been into club subscriptions and was always very wary of signing up for one. I love knitting and spinning and working with almost any colorway, but there was something about giving up control of selection that didn’t appeal to me. Winning this subscription was very fortuitous for me — it allowed/forced me to try out clubs and see what they’re all about. Despite my reluctance, I’d certainly been curious.I just wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it and this was my shot to try it risk-free.

How did it go? Well, it’s been almost a year and a half and I’ve chosen to resubscribe continuously since my prize trial run, so I would have to say pretty good. One of my favorite aspects of the club has nothing to do with the actual spinning  — it’s that it really can help me to abide by a budget. If I sign up for one fiber club and I know I have that to look forward to, it really does help me avoid a lot of impulse purchasing. It’s a really easy way to plan, too — you sign up, pay a lump sum for 3months of fiber and your fiber arrives on your doorstep each month. Bing. Bang. Boom. Fiber craving fulfilled on a monthly basis.

Have I loved every single installment? Almost, but not all were ones I would necessary pick on my own. That’s actually what I’ve come to love about the club though. As a spinner, there are the technical aspects of making yarn — twist and ply and all the little details of the physical making of the yarn (many of which I still have so much to learn), but there is also so much you can control with color. If a braid isn’t my favorite, I know there is always a way to use it — I can change how I split and ply the braid to manipulate how the colors show up in the yarn. I can combine it with another braid to totally change-up how the yarn is going to ultimately turn out. In fact, some of my favorite yarns are the combination of two braids I kind of didn’t know what I’d ever use them for on their own. Ply them together and suddenly you have a completely different color scheme. It’s really amazing to have such freedom to experiment and create!

Beyond color combinations, I’ve found the club to be a great way to open doors as far as fiber content goes. Since the fiber base changes from month to month, I have automatically been introduced to a whole lot of different fiber bases. Each new base is an opportunity to learn about the unique qualities of different fibers and to develop not only my spinning skills, but to get to know my own personal preferences. I now know I can whip up a pretty nice single in a merino. And that I like a 2ply in Rambouillet, but not so much in Polwarth. I know merino/nylon blends I often like in a 3ply because I really like that nice round yarn I get from it. A lot of this, I’d have learned eventually, but the club really expedited the process.

For Tiger Lily, which was 100% BFL, I considered doing a lightweight 3ply to use for socks. But I’ve been putting off spinning for socks because it scares me a little (for no good reason) and I was a little unsure the 4oz would be enough for socks for me anyway. Instead, I figured I’d just whip up a super simple 2ply to see how I like it — I don’t have a ton of experience with spinning BFL and at the moment I just wanted something quick and fun.

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So I went ahead and divided it in half and just spun it up. I can’t remember if I did any further splitting, but I think this one I spun without any prep beyond weighing out the two halves evenly. That’s one reason I am addicted to this club. The fibers always arrive ready to spin. Pretty much the only time I need to prep the fiber is if I am manipulating color. When you have such limited time for spinning as I do, this high quality and excellent prep on the part of the dyer is a huge bonus.

These bobbins sat around waiting to be plied for a shamefully long amount of time while I worked on another project, but when the time came to make the final product…

tigerlily1It turned out just lovely. It’s admittedly a little rough, but I love the color and I think the BFL really ‘works’ with a little bit more of a rustic feel to the yarn.

tigerlily3I just loved spinning the colors here and I love how they play together. (And I’m sorry about the focus in this photo — I’m not quite sure what was happening there other than I was trying to snap photos quickly to get out of the way of my children watching The Lego Movie).

tigerlilyWhen all was said & done, I had about 275yards of a sport weight yarn — at least it looks like sport weight right now to me, but it might be on that boundary between fingering & sport weight. It is very soft with that wonderful crispness that comes with BFL.  I have no idea what I will knit with it yet — it would be great as mittens or mitts or as a little shawlette. I could see a slouchy hat in its future, too. For now, I’m going to enjoy reveling in its potential while it sits in my stash.

Tiger Lily is definitely one of those fibers I wouldn’t have bought on my own, but now that it’s in my stash I just love it. I actually had a chance to talk with Natalie about how she decides what to dye for her clubs because they often seem to be exactly the colors I didn’t know I was craving. The fact of the matter is that her yarn & fiber clubs are always very ‘of the moment,’ so I asked her how she does that? The colors I get monthly are always fresh and new and perfectly in season and on trend. She shared that while she tends to have a ideas in her head as to what she wants to do from month to month, she often will be influenced right up until the time she does the dyeing, allowing all the latest colors trends seep into her choices. It shows! Each month, the fiber I receive is — like I said — somehow magically exactly the colors I’ve craving to have in my hands. I love it!

Obviously, I’ve become a huge fan of the Cloudlover Fiber Club and I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’ve never really explained all the reasons why I’m so addicted. I wanted to write about it a bit now with the holidays coming up because I think it’s just so much more than simply the gift of yarn &/or fiber (yes, there are yarn clubs, too!) — it’s the gift of experimentation & creativity & education within the craft. A great treat for yourself as well as an awesome gift for any knitting or spinning friends, especially since I believe the December installment usually arrives in time for Christmas.

You can check out the full Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber shop here. There are five different clubs to choose from as well as many individual braids and skeins of gorgeous fiber & yarn. Don’t forget to use the code SOCKSWITHSARAH discount code at checkout for 15% off your purchase (sorry, the discount code does not apply to club subscriptions because they are already such a fab deal!). Happy shopping — Enjoy!

4 responses to “The Glory of the Fiber Club

  1. I’m a new spinner who is just learning. I am going to check out the fiber club. It sounds great and your skeins look wonderful!

    • I think it’s a great idea for a new spinner! Some of the fibers will be a little more challenging, but it’ll be a great way to learn and her fiber always comes ready to spin. I wish I had known about it earlier!

  2. that will make something wonderful! And thanks for the reminder to go check out Cloudlover’s shop one last time before the coupon expires… I wore my peacock socks the other day and got many compliments – such wonderful colors.

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