On Expanding One’s Comfort Zone

From the very beginning, I’ve been a spinner very much on a mission to create even, well-balanced yarn. You know, the kind that maybe could almost be mistaken for commercial yarn, but with a hint more personality. I’ve only rarely been drawn to art yarns, so the idea of creating textured yarns has never really had much draw for me. And then I started following Amanada from Classy Squid Fiber Co. on Instagram.

I picked up a couple 2oz batts from her for last year’s Tour de Fleece and while I loved the colors, I’ll admit I struggled a little with the texture in the batts because I really didn’t know how to handle them. I love the finished skein…

CSFC wholeAnd did a decent job of accepting the texture while I spun…

CSFC detBut it was kind of a struggle for me as I sort of fought against what the batt was to try to make the nice, smooth yarn I’d grown used to spinning. I knew I liked spinning batts, but in this spin I also managed to figure out that the finished products of these batts were never going to be those smooth & even skeins. It was pretty clear that while this first skein was a hit for me, I definitely needed to find a better way to approach them in future projects.

As the days & weeks & months went by, I watched Amanda do these crazy & beautiful things with texture. Sure, some of it is probably beyond where I would take my spinning, but watching the textures she invites into her spinning made me start reevaluate my own comfort zone.  Maybe it was less about changing my technique and more about changing my expectations and my vision for what her batts would become. Maybe it was about relaxing into the texture. And that’s what I resolved to try with my next Classy Squid Fiber Co batt.

I picked this 2oz “Japanese Garden” batt to take with me on our Yellowstone trip.

from csfc

Photo used with permission of Classy Squid Fiber Co.

I wanted to spin up this little batt as a stand-alone 2-ply, so I knew it would be a great quick spin. And it was!

img_2160-2I split it in half and whipped it up in just a few hours. It’s worth noting that my daughter loved helping me organize the fluffy lengths that I split the fiber into. It was so soft, in fact, she couldn’t resist “reorganizing” it for me multiple times based on how poofy it was — that, in her humble opinion, made more sense than to organize it by color. But I digress.

As I spun, I really relaxed. When some texture came up in the fiber, I let that flow into the yarn. I still spun fairly evenly, but I let those little hiccoughs of texture have their place in the yarn, too. It was 2parts thrilling, 98parts terrifying for me, but when all was said & done…

skeinI fell in love with this little skein!

outofskeinIt’s 185yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn that sings with little flecks of sparkles and noils and all sorts of goodies.

extra detailThere are uneven spots that I left there ON PURPOSE. It’s so weird.

pretty detailAnd so awesome.

I have more Classy Squid Fiber Co. batts in my stash and I will definitely be employing this same approach with them in the future. It turns out that in spinning, as in life, expanding your comfort zone can indeed by 2parts thrilling and 98parts terrifying, but the exercise can often have some really wonderful results.

7 responses to “On Expanding One’s Comfort Zone

  1. I started to really love spinning batts and “interesting” fiber preps after I learned to spin long draw. Once I learned long draw, I realized that my singles can look a bit uneven while spinning, but then even out nicely when finishing my yarn. So it became easier to accept unevenness. Then suddenly I wanted to spin batts all the time. They look lovely! I am glad you are enjoying them!

    • I’m still a little intimidated by long draw — I have the Craftsy class Jacey Boggs Faulkner did for different draws, but I didn’t quite make it to the long draw section yet. Maybe that’ll be on the menu for later this year… But YES. I’m kind of in love with batts. It kind of makes me want to learn how to card/get a carder or blending board, BUT I think for now realistically I’m better off buying them from someone else!

  2. Very pretty! I look at arty yarn and think how pretty it is, but then when I have it, I struggle with liking it knit up – not really sure what to make with it. So far it’s been mostly hats (duh) and the occasional cowl, which I rarely wear. So now that you have spun it, I can’t wait to see what you knit with it!

    • I’m thinking it’ll be a nice accent on a shawl or shawlette. I have a charcoal-y grey in my stash that I think it would pair nicely with… So when I dig that out I’ll start looking for a pattern. :p

    • Thank you! That’s kind of where I think my happy place is with batts right now — textured without being overly arty. At least for now, I can wrap my head around using it so I will probably hang out in this creative spot for a while with the batts I have.

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