by Anne Podlesak
The original fiber was a hand-carded batt from Funky Carolina, from her Luxury Batt club, featuring dyed blue-faced leicester wool, superfine white merino wool and silk with a very small amount of sparkle.
Funky Carolina batts come slightly attenuated already, so they resemble very thick roving, as opposed to the flatter, square batts many vendors carry. The total weight of this batt was 2.5 ounces, so I knew that I wanted to spin it very finely and use it for a laceweight project to make the most of the smaller amount of fiber.
You could duplicate this batt with any fine wool/silk blend. It would also be pretty done in a wool and bamboo, or wool and tencel blend.
Since this batt was not completely evenly carded (you will sometimes have this referred to as “chunky” blended), I decided to create the equivalent of roving to spin from. I rolled the batt, which, as noted, was already attenuated slightly, into a jelly-roll shape and then gently started pulling it from one end, trying to pull evenly, slowly and equally to help blend all the fibers together. This resulted in adding air into the fibers, and as well, attenuated them out to an easier-to-spin roving. Once I had predrafted the entire batt, I coiled it back loosely on itself in two equal-weight fiber nests, to keep it clean and from accidentally getting yanked apart and used as kitty-helper toys.
I then spun from one end of the attenuated fiber using a forward draft (inchworm) style of spinning to keep the yarn nice and smooth.
I spun each half of the batt onto a bobbin, and plied these together to get a 2-ply laceweight yarn. As I plied, I smoothed the singles with one hand, to ensure a very smooth finished yarn in the worsted style. The high silk and BFL content in the original fibers helped create a very smooth yarn with a nice sheen to it.
To finish the yarn, I wound it off onto my skein winder, added choke-ties, and then let it soak for an hour or so in a lukewarm bath with some wool wash soap added to it. I spun out the excess water, gave the skein a couple of snaps to align the fibers and then allowed it to air dry.
Finished Technical Details: A worsted-spun 2-ply heavy laceweight yarn. Approximately 21 wraps per inch, with 560 yards per 4 ounces (2240 ypp).
Photos © Anne Podlesak.