Apples and seaweed

Posted in FO, spinning by tchemgrrl on February 27, 2010

Over the holidays, took a trip to Toronto with J and his family for a few days. Aside from being really cold, it was a nice time. One afternoon we all went in separate directions, and J and I did a bit of cross-referencing and then headed straight for the part of town with a comics shop and fiber store in closest proximity to each other.

(This is our usual method of deciding where to go. You think it’s coincidence that we live less than 10 blocks from two comics shops and two fiber-related stores? No.)

The fiber shop was Romni Wools, and it was lovely. I’ve been on such a spinning kick that I’m not sure when a commercial yarn will *ever* get used, so I was very happy to find some spinning fiber in their basement. I finally decided on two hanks of a sea silk/bug silk blend from Fleece Artist, one in what I think is sugar plum colorway. Fleece Artist doesn’t list their colorways on the labels, so as I was paying, J decided that it was all the colors of apples, and he was absolutely right–the leaves and all different shades of fruit, and even the mushy brown of the bruised windfalls.

I didn’t get a shot of the fiber because I started working on it more or less immediately, as I got a beautiful 18g Bosworth spindle as a Christmas gift, and here I was without any fiber to use it on. It’s hard, having all these first world problems.

apple silk 2

I decided to make a 2-ply yarn with what I’ve seen called a “fractal” technique, though the term’s a bit mathematically problematic. For the first ply, I split the fiber into 2 equal pieces, leading to quite long color repeats. For the second ply, I split it into a good number of narrower pieces (6-8 depending on how the particular chunk of fiber I had in my hand wanted to split), leading to narrower stripes that would nonetheless fit into a single one of the longer repeats. I’ve done this before for dyed yarns where all of the colors coordinate with each other with good results. I like it because 1: the color divisions are more subtle and better tied-together, 2: it requires less advance planning than trying to line all the plies up does, and 3: it still leaves just enough up to chance, which means I want to knit it up right away to see what it looks like!

This was a blend of sea silk and regular silk, but I could not tell the difference between the two at all, even holding pieces up to the light. It spun exactly like good silk top ought to. The only hint of its oceanic beginnings came when I washed the skein; my bathroom turned into Seafood Sam’s at low tide, and several washes didn’t reduce the smell of the yarn. I’m a little nervous about the looks I’ll get wearing this if I get caught in a rainstorm!

There was a bit of yellow-tan dye bleed but it didn’t make a big difference in the color of the final yarn–the sea silk must be pretty happy taking up dye.

apple silk 3

I consciously did a more worsted-style draw than I normally do in an effort to maximize the sheen of the silk (I’ve been disappointed by that with my handspun silk before). It seems to have worked pretty well, I love the way this yarn catches the light, and I couldn’t stop taking ridiculous closeups. Just so pretty.

apple silk

Final stats: 2 ounces, 320 yards of two-ply, 23 wpi. A knitting/spinning friend has recently made several Lacy Baktuses with her handspun, and I really love the wide, shallow triangle shape, the ability to use every scrap of yarn, and the way it shows off the varigation of a yarn spun from handdyed yarn. I’ll probably do that pattern, or a variant, with this.


3 Responses

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  1. dearmary said, on February 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Lovely! It will make a sweeeeeeeet Lacy Backtus (or variant thereof).

    The term “fractal” as used in spinning has alway bugged me, too. Could it be simply “fractional” that was meant when the term was coined?

  2. Karyn said, on February 28, 2010 at 2:53 am

    I was in Toronto at the 4th of July with limited time and decided to visit Lettuce Knit. My knitting friends in SF are big fan of the Yarn Harlot and that’s her LYS. Toronto was really nice in the summer!

    Your yarn is beautiful!!

  3. Guzzisue said, on February 28, 2010 at 7:13 am

    pretty 🙂 I think i will have to try this method and am looking forward to seeing the finished scarf.

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