You Can’t Go Wrong

If you’ve been reading along here for a while you know that I subscribe to the Three Waters Farm Top of the Month Club. I try very hard to keep up with it. I’ll be honest here when I admit that I loved the January installment — ‘Birds in Holly’ — so much that I ordered a second braid. I held the first braid until the second arrived and then… well, I was kind of afraid to touch it. I could not for the life of me decide if I should chain ply it and keep the colors whole or barberpole it or what. I was really stuck.

I didn’t manage to snap a ‘before’ image, so I’m sharing one courtesy of Three Waters Farm just so you can see how pretty this braid is.

birdsinthehollyramboucollage
Photo courtesy of Three Waters Farm  

Then an online spinning friend and I were writing back and forth about this & that and this colorway came into the conversation. I voiced my indecision and was essentially told, “Just go for it. You can’t go wrong.” Realizing she was absolutely right, I dove in.

img_2776Following another friend’s advice on maximizing a barberpoling effect, I split both braids into about a million little nests, one braid of nests starting from one side of the colorway and the other from the opposite end.

And I started spinning.

img_2787I think I meant to spin these singles a little heavier, but when light felt right in my hands I just went with it. After all, I couldn’t go wrong, right?

img_2927It was a really pretty spin…

img_2968And it took some serious time — which I didn’t mind at all because it was so darn pretty, but I finally finished the singles.

And then I saved them while I spun a million other singles so that I could ply them all during the Akerworks Flat Pack Lazy Kate test.

AkerKate

When I started plying, it became a little bit of a running joke because the plying took me a long time. Partly because I was really busy running & doing the Big Clean of our house with my family, but mostly because it was A LOT of yarn.

img_3265As a spinner, sometimes it can be hard to gauge how much yardage you’re actually spinning because so much of it is influenced by perspective. If I’m plying and dying to get to my next spin, whether it’s 200yards or 1500yards it’ll feel like the plying is taking forever. If I have a lightweight spin and for some reason I think it seems wise to choose keeping it all in one skein over using a speedier flyer, it really feel like the plying is taking forever. When I finally started to wind this one into a skein, it became apparent relatively early that I had a lot of yarn on this skein. My internal monologue went something like this:

“Maybe I’ll get 500yards.” Got to 500 yards. Still a lot left on the bobbin.

“Maybe I’ll get 600yards.” Got to 600 yards. Still a lot left on the bobbin.

(a little bolder) “Maybe I’ll get 800yards.” Got to 800yards. Still a lot left on the bobbin.

“Am I seriously going to hit 1000 yards?” Got to 1000yards. Still yarn left on the bobbin.

“Holy jeez. No wonder plying this took me so long.”

The final statistics for this skein after washing and snapping and drying leave me with a light fingering weight yarn of about 18wraps per inch of which I have 1160yards.

outside skeinIt’s not too shabby looking either.

outdoor detailAnd by not too shabby, I mean I love this skein of yarn more than I’ve ever loved any yarn (and I love yarn a lot).

beauty shotMy dream for this skein is to knit up a Featherweight Cardigan in it and then wear it everyday for the rest of my life. According to the pattern specs I have enough to make one in my size, but ideally I will eventually pick up an extra 4oz of this colorway and replicate the spin as best I can so that I have some extra and can maybe extend the body & sleeves a bit beyond the slightly cropped waist & 3/4 length sleeves. I do live in Wisconsin, after all.

So it turns out I really couldn’t go wrong. In fact, I really really went right with this spin. I think this goes to show that sometimes when you’re frozen in indecision you just need to go for it. Take a chance that you might totally screw something up and just take the leap. You just might make the greatest yarn (or knitwear or dinner entree) you’ve ever made.

A Leap Forward

There are some projects for which you simply make time even when you don’t think you have it. I’ve been trying very hard to keep up with my Top of the Month fiber club shipments from Three Waters Farm — to spin each month’s fiber in the month I receive it. I’ve never managed to stay up with my fiber clubs in the past, but it was a promise I made to myself when I signed up for this one. I managed it in December, missed January, and thought I’d be missing it again in February. I was acutely aware that that was not a great track record at all, though, so when I had a few days at the end of February to make a go with February’s ‘Light in the Trees’, I jumped.

littWanting to get this going asap, I didn’t overthink it. I prepped it simply with breaking it into its three equal & identical repeat portions (when dyers dye a braid of fiber they will often have three repeats on a 4oz braid) and then I stripped it into 2-3gram strips. I planned to spin it in one long piece and then n-ply it.

img_2387-2It just so happened that the lightweight singles I’ve been seeking finally came back to me on this spin.

img_2414-1And it was terribly exciting for me, so much so that I kind of whipped through the singles. The fantastic colors didn’t slow me down, either.

img_2417It was when I started plying, however, that I knew I’d really have the skein I’d been working toward all these many months — fingering weight 3-ply with (hopefully) ample yardage.

img_2422With the hope that I could indeed knit these into socks one day, I put in a relatively high-twist.

And the finished yarn?

skeinBe still my heart!

detFrom my 4oz braid of fiber, I got just shy of 400yards of 3-ply fingering weight yarn. Considering that I’ve been struggling to get in the 300yard range with the same amount of fiber, this is a huge accomplishment for me.

I saw a really gorgeous skein of gradient from this same fiber in the Ravelry group that almost made me second guess my blend of colors a little…

super detailI do love how these colors interact, though. It really does remind me of looking up into the trees in a forest on a spring day — the browns of the bark & last year’s fallen leaves, the greens just starting to peek out below my feet, the crisp blue sky, and the warm sun.  No, I don’t think I could have made a better skein for me.

the pretty pileWhat’s more, at about 400yards of fingering weight yarn this is a perfect skein for some sock knitting. I plan to work these two-at-a-time from the toe-up so that I’ll be able to use up all the yarn. After all, when it’s such a labor of love and represents such a huge leap, you use all the yarn. I’ve been meaning to give the new Churchmouse Toe-Up Sock pattern a whirl and I think think might be the perfect opportunity. I might even peek in my stash to find some yarn for a contrast toe & heel. I seem to recal a rusty brown that might work…

This spin has really felt like a turning point for me — the comfort I’m feeling at my wheel is at an all time high. Ironically, I’m wondering (and wondering and wondering) if I’m now able to bounce back and forth a little better between heavier yarns and this new lightweight yarn. That is the ultimate goal — to be able to sit down and just create the yarn I want, any yarn I want, whenever I want. For now, though, I think I’m going to hang around in this new lace weight singles realm for a little bit. It was a hard-won and I kind of what to bask in this little leap forward. A leap forward in February in a leap year. This spin may have been a whim, but I couldn’t have planned the results better if I’d tried!