Today I finished up a spinning project that has taken me a L O N G time. Not because it was particularly taxing, more that life is busy and I live in a small space. Every time I spin I bring my wheel up from the basement. If I stop in the middle of a project (which I often do because I have small children… and — gasp! — responsibilities beyond the fiber world), we all trip over my wheel until I wrap up the work. When it involves an overnight stay upstairs, my wheel ends up on my kitchen table to insure our puppy — 7month old lab superstar, MooseBurger — does not get any fancy ideas about turning my beloved wheel into a chew toy (he is an angel and would never, but I’m not taking chances). As you can imagine, all this relocating and stopping & starting can sometimes turn 4oz of fiber into a weeks long project. Can I just say though, that it is so worth it.
Let me introduce to you the latest addition to my yarn stash. This is a handpainted roving I purchased from Cloudlover a few months ago (don’t hate me for the time lapse — remember all the moving involved!). I always love the job Natalie at Cloudlover does with her roving. I adore that she often takes color inspiration from current trends, stirs them ever so slightly, & translates it all magically into these wholly unique, beautiful braids. I don’t know how she does it, but I never want her to stop!
This lovely braid was the Illustrus colorway in an 80% merino – 20% silk blend. I spun the single for the yarn at a lace weight and yes, it almost killed me it took so long. Don’t get me wrong, I love spinning and I don’t mind that it takes time. Sometimes though… when I know it’s going to be beautiful…. the wait from roving to finished yarn can feel… very long. But I digress.
Knowing it would be exceptionally light if I just did a 2-ply with it, I decided to be a tad more ambitious and try Navajo plying. Now I had toyed with Navajo plying before with some leftovers so I knew I could do it. I practiced with some ‘lesser yarn’ I had lying around before setting this single up. The start of the plying was a little less than spectacular. So excited that I had a couple of hours to get going on the plying while my kids were at school, I raced to get set-up and going. After over 30 minutes fighting with the technique and it just not working, I set it aside. Flabbergasted I grabbed some alpaca roving I had nearby to try to cleanse my palate. As I reached to get the wheel spinning I realized the problem. Yes. It helps to spin the wheel in the correct direction (sometimes I am less than a genius). Back to the plying, it went smoothly from there on out.
I won’t lie to you, it is not perfect. Ironically, as a knitting instructor I tell my students all the time to not be too hard on themselves for little imperfections. I love little inconsistencies in the yarns I buy. I actually love those little spots where the dye is just a bit different. I like the impression that human hands have touched the very materials I am using. When I spin yarn that isn’t perfect though, I tend to focus on the 2 or 3 spots that could be better. With this skein, I am embarking on an attempt to appreciate my handspun for what it is and to be thankful. Despite the hurdles and inconveniences this hobby poses around my house, I appreciate every moment that I get to pursue it. I love that I get to create a yarn that has my own imperfections, my own little signature. I was here. I made this. And it is lovely.