Have you been following the coned yarn saga over at Yarn Harlot? At first I didn't think much of it, I'd heard that coned yarn often had something yucky in it that had to be washed out. But then I thought about my lovely Irish yarn... the yarn that is strangely slick on the needles and yet scratchy to work with... the yarn the swatches to one tension and then *presto* comes out another size when washed. Duh.
The kindly seller even explains in her note with the yarn that the mill she buys it from in Ireland now only sells it wholesale by the cone. She skeins it up herself for shipping. So right now the last two skeins are soaking in my sink. The results have not been as dramatic as the harlot's, but thus far the washing has resulted in a fluffy, fresh, gloriously green tweed. It has also transformed two gallon Ziploc bags worth of yarn into a HUGE pile of yarn. Looks like it might be easier to knit the sweater than to try to jam all that back into the cedar chest. Anyway, I've decided that when I come back after my weekend away (still moving the last of the stuff out of the house) I'm going to treat this yarn as if it just arrived. I'm going to swatch with anticipation. I'm going to leave the pattern on the nightstand. In other words, I'm giving this sweater amnesty for past crimes and hoping that we can fall in love all over again.
I've been going to the weekly spinning get together put on by the guild here and the ladies have been so supportive! A few weeks ago someone brought a bag of little bits of different fibers for me and I got to try cotton, silk, and several different kinds of wool, including some washed locks. It made me feel like a bit of a klutz, but it was really interesting. It has also been fun to observe everyone: different wheels, different fibers, different fiber preparations, different drafting styles... one lady has been working with a lovely wool/tencel blend. I love the sheen. The best part though is certainly the conversation. I don't say much, I mostly just sit and listen, but it is good to get out of the house and be with people for a few hours.
My mini-skein of "exotic" fibers wasn't much to look at, so I have a picture of my latest round of sampling from the fiber stash instead. Left to right:
- Romney singles, fingering weight. I wanted to make a shawl from this, but I'm going to have to work my way down to lace weight or I won't have enough of this roving. Stuck at 18 wpi.
- Next two are mystery wools (seller knew, I forgot). I was able to drop by a sheep to shawl event when we were out of town a few weekends ago. I mentioned to a lady who was spinning that I was a beginning spinner and she exclaimed "Have I got a deal for you!" She had sent a bunch of wool to the processor a few years back and was up to her neck in it. Selling for $8 a lb. I got 37oz. A bit rough and lots of lanolin, but I'm sure I can find *something* to do with it :) The grey in particular is begging for cables.
- Finally, at the end is some Alpaca. It hasn't been washed or anything so it is a bit gritty to work with, but spins up SO soft. There is lots of junk in it that I hate to see going into such a soft yarn, but I'm not sure how to get it out. Thoughts?
This shop is driving my batty. No really. Um and this one too. Can it be my birthday yet? Please?