by Lori Law
The yarn I chose for the Windchaser Shawl has been sitting in my stash for quite a while, now, waiting for the right project. I am thrilled to finally have it knit up looking pretty. You may or may not recognize it from our header graphic here on Ennea Collective.
The yarn was spun from what I call Rainbow Batts which are hand-carded to transition from one colour to the next, sideways along the width of the batt. The resulting yarn is a little less severely striped than if it were spun from a standard hand-dyed roving or top. I like heathery yarns which have smaller pops of colour on a fairly solid background; the result of spinning from this kind of batt with sections of slightly overlapping fibres in different colours is like layering watercolour washes over each other in contrast to spinning more solidly toned fibre with less of the fibres mingling together.
They are also carded in small amounts (25g each) which I consider little gems of fun for hand-spinning. Included fibres are hand- and commercially-dyed Fine Merino and Corriedale.
With this in mind and not having a project in mind at the time, I spun it hoping to eek out as much yardage as possible. In my mind (although I am trying to train myself about the joys of spinning heavier weights of yarn since they do not take so long to spin up, generally) I am being frugal with this approach: getting more yardage = more bang for your buck.
I began with two batts, 25 g each, with the ending intention to be a 2-ply laceweight yarn.
First I unrolled them to their full length. As I was spinning, I separated a small section at a time, beginning at the lightest edge of the batt. I would then spin each of these small sections from end to end using a slightly backwards draw with my forward hand controlling the twist. I worked my way through the entire batt this way and repeated the process using the second batt for my second single. I used the smallest whorl on my Victoria wheel with a fast draw-in, allowing for high twist to keep the thin singles from pulling apart but avoiding over-twisting.
I plied the singles using a larger whorl on the Ladybug for a more drapey yarn suitable for lace-knitting rather than a perkier springy yarn. I made sure to begin plying the singles from the same-toned ends.
•260 yds [237 m] per 50g [1.76 oz], 2363 ypp, 26 wpi.
•spin ratio: 13:1, semi-worsted; ply: 10.5:1.
NOTE, if you are looking for instructions to spin yarn similar to the fingering merino used in this design, please see this article.
Photos © Lori Law.