Lupine Cardigan: Spin The Yarn

by Anne Podlesak

I love a lightweight cardigan for the summertime.  It’s perfect here in the mountains as the nights generally cool down quickly as the sun goes down, but it’s still warm enough for something light over your shoulders.

With that in mind, I purchased two matching braids of a merino/bamboo blend (50/50) from Funky Carolina in a pretty summery colorway, “Waterlilies”.

I find that sometimes the addition of tencel or bamboo makes the fiber a little more “sticky” when drafting, and I also wanted to be sure the colors in this blended in a subtle “painterly” fashion, so I opted to split each braid into long thin strips before spinning and lightly pre-drafted these as I went along.  I then coiled the strips into bird’s nests to keep the fiber from getting tangled or snagged while spinning it.

I drafted this fiber using a semi-worsted technique.  I drafted backwards using the hand controlling the fiber supply, slowly, and smoothed the twist down using the hand that controls the twist, being sure to put plenty of twist into the singles, as I find bamboo blends like to drift apart in the plying if I don’t.

I then created a 2-ply yarn using a balanced twist, again smoothing the fibers down to take advantage of the shine from the bamboo, and also to help counteract the stretching tendencies of the bamboo component in the finished yarn by being sure not to underply the fiber.

My finished yarn consisted of two skeins, each weighing 4 ounces, with 500 yards on one, and 504 yards on the other, totalling 1004 yards (approximately 2008 ypp), a light fingering-weight yarn, with 22-24 wpi.

To finish the yarn, I wound it onto my skein winder, added 3 sets of choke ties, and then let it soak in a cool bath with SOAK wool-wash.  I spun it to remove excess water in the washing machine, and let it air dry.

Technical Details: A 2-ply, semi-worsted yarn, 22-24 wpi and approximately 500 yards per 4 ounces (2008 ypp), a light fingering weight yarn.