From Farmers’ Market to Yarn

This past summer I shared that while at the Dane County Farmers’ Market one Saturday, Mr Knitting Sarah talked me into picking up some fiber from one of the vendors, Wisconsin Highlands Farms.

grey woolI totally spaced on what breed of fiber this is, but it’s a super soft, greyish-brown that although washed and carded into roving clearly still had a good deal of lanolin in it and still smelled vaguely of sheep. If you aren’t a fiber artist, you probably think that smelling like sheep would not be a selling point, but for a knitter or spinner of undyed yarn it doesn’t get much better than that sniff test. It’s almost as good as being there when the sheep is shorn.

But I digress.

I starting spinning shortly after I brought it home.

grey wool spunAnd it was as lovely as I expected.

I have to admit that in my head I was thinking I bought 2 – 2.5oz balls of fiber when in fact it was 2 – 3.5oz balls of fiber. It may not sound like much of a difference, but I promise you that it really is quite a lot more fiber and with the disconnect between what I was thinking I had and what I actually had made it feel like this project went on  f o r e v e r . Don’t get me wrong — it was awesome to work with this fiber. It just took about 20times longer than I had estimated it would.

I finally got to plying though and I was finally driven enough to wrap it up so I could get something new on my wheel. I put my nose to the grindstone & got it finished and then put it directly into a bath to set it.

I was aiming for a fingering weight yarn for a Rilsdale Shawl, but I’ve been struggling a bit with getting fingering weight yarns. Since working on getting better with heavier weight singles my light singles have suffered a bit. In any case, the resulting yarn — miraculously — is a bit over 500yards of a light fingering weight yarn.

localfiberAnd it’s going to perfect for my Rilsdale Shawl. It’s exactly the yarn I’d envisioned.

localfiber2I probably could have eeked out another 50-100yards, but I mucked up my plying bracelet I was trying to use at the end. No matter. It’s plenty for the pattern, so I’m just going to be happy that I got the weight right and not cry over the few extra yards I could have had.

I’m not sure when I’ll get around to knitting this project up, but I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s a rarity that I manage to spin exactly the yarn that I’m trying to spin so it’s a major win in that regard. And the prize is such a beautiful, soft rustic yarn that I just know whenever I do get to it, it’ll be worth the wait.

10 thoughts on “From Farmers’ Market to Yarn”

  1. What an absolutely beautiful color! It always amazes me how the fiber changes from roving to spun yarn. I had a ball of roving I thought was gray but turned out to be a delicious slate blue when spun.

    1. Spinning really is a special craft in that you learn so much about texture and color. I can’t wait to knit this skein — if I didn’t have two shawls on the needles I’d cast-on today!

    1. Oh absolutely! I actually have a whole processed, but natural fleece due to come in sometime in the next couple months.I think because I don’t do any of the processing myself, I tend to get the colorful fibers, but I’m definitely not opposed to undyed fibers!

  2. I’m always so impressed with your skills! Carding and spinning and knitting – OH MY! (Hope you got my ‘OZ’ reference :)) AND you do it all with speed. I’m so proud (and a little jealous).

    1. Oh, I didn’t care this! I am strictly one who spins only from processed fiber. My hubby has lots of allergies and the idea of an unprocessed fleece really concerns him. I don’t mind — I’m happy to have my fiber cleaned and carded for me. 🙂 And in fairness, this project took me a couple months. No so speedy!

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