This was a really fun mental exercise in design. I wanted to try to design something that would utilize bits and pieces of leftover handspun yarn or maybe sample-sized skeins, plus one “typically sized” 4-ounce braid. I purposefully kept all the fibers the same (BFL – or blue-faced Leicester) as it is one of my favorites to work with.
I started out with a sampler of 8 different colorways from Greenwood Fibers on Etsy. You, of course, can mix and match fibers and colorways as you’d like, depending on what you already have in your stash. Each of the sample amounts was approximately 0.5 ounces of fiber. I spun each fiber, after lightly predrafting to fluff the fibers a bit after shipping, from one end to the other, just to watch the color interplay, but not worrying about where the colors fell. I used a worsted-style spinning technique, putting a fairly strong twist into the singles, and smoothing the fibers with my non-drafting hand. I used a forward-draft/inchworm method. I spun all the singles individually onto one bobbin, and then wound off the singles using my ball-winder to create a center-pull ball. I then plied from the inside and outside of that ball, to create a 2-ply yarn, and to be sure I would be able to utilize every inch of the singles I had spun.
For the 4-ounce braid of BFL from Funky Carolina that makes up the body of the bag, I wanted to blend the colors (which were already fairly antiqued and muted in appearance) as much as possible, so I divided the roving up for a fractal spin. I first split the yarn in half (two 2-ounce portions, which I weighed on my postal scale). I then split one of those 2-ounce portions into four equal amounts, length-wise, and then split the other 2-ounce portion into 12 fairly equal amounts, length-wise. Keeping each 2 ounce section separate, I loosely coiled the fiber into small bird’s nests to keep the roving organized and clean while I spun it.
From this point, I spun these 4 ounces using the same worsted-style spinning technique that I used for the sample-sized skeins. To maintain a fairly consistent yarn, I used the sample skeins as references for my larger 4-ounce skein. To finish the yarns, I wound each skein 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.
Technical Details: One 4-ounce skein of BFL wool, spun worsted technique, with 250 yards per 4 ounces (1000 ypp), DK/light worsted weight, 2 ply, and 8 sample-sized skeins of BFL wool, spun worsted technique with approximately 40 to 42 yards per 0.5 ounces (1280 ypp) DK weight, 2-ply.