Sea & Sky

A couple of weeks ago I decided to try something different on the spinning wheel. I have a few things to knit for baby boys who are about to make their grand appearance, so I thought I’d try spinning up the blue cormo I got from Crown Mountain Farms last summer.

This blue-on-blue colorway is called ‘Clapping with One Hand’ in cormo, but ‘Sailing’ in merino. That name, Sailing, was a big influence on why I bought it last year: I got it just when Tom left for his trip to Hawaii.

I’ve never spun cormo before, and this was also the first fiber I’ve spun from Crown Mountain that hasn’t been corriedale pencil roving. But cormo is a cross of corriedale and merino, both of which I love spinning.

The colors were just right for what I wanted for baby knits, though, so I got to spinning. My plan was a 2-ply worsted weight, so I split the original bump into two equal (by weight) nests.

It was during this first step that some questions about this fiber began to form in my head. As lofty and soft as it looked in the bump, I was amazed (and more than a little disappointed) to find it incredibly dry-feeling, slubby, and not very smoothly prepared as roving.

The fiber was so dry – I can’t imagine that there was any lanolin left in it at all – that it was almost sticky. That’s not the right word… clingy or catchy, maybe. This made it quite hard to spin at first, until I decided to quit trying to spin what I wanted (smooth and regular worsted) and start trying to spin it how it wanted (irregular and aranish weight).

You can see how lumpy and uneven the roving was:

I didn’t split the lengths of roving before spinning for two reasons. First, the prepared roving was already split, totally unevenly, in a bunch of places. Second, I wanted to retain as much fiber alignment as possible for a worsted-spin method – so having a bunch of pulled fibers going every which way would not have been helpful. But I did pre-draft each section as I unwrapped it to loosen the fibers and make it possible to draft them somewhat evenly while spinning.

But… even with all of that going on, it was not nearly enough to stop me from spinning! It’s all learning opportunity, right?

The two bobbins of singles were lovely.

Plied and on the niddy noddy:

The final yarn ended up too bulky for the projects that I wanted, but it is very pretty nonetheless. The colors range from the robin’s egg blue of the sky, to bits of white recalling wispy clouds floating above, to a steely teal that so resembles the waters of Puget Sound. 

Sea and sky:

Sea & Sky:

I love the experience of trying new fibers and spinning methods. What new things have you been trying lately – especially anything that seemed like it might not turn out too well but provided some type of upside? I’d love to hear.

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3 thoughts on “Sea & Sky

  1. anastasiawraight says:

    I’ve just tried (or more in the process of trying) a merino, silk, and bamboo blend. This is only my second spinning project; the first was some blue wool (no idea what kind). It’s a lot trickier! The wool kind of slips and slides apart. We’ll see how it turns out.

    By the way, your yarn is absolutely beautiful. The colors are just lovely.

    • Shawn says:

      Thank you so much! I just spun and am knitting a merino/tencel blend and LOVED it. To my hand, tencel and bamboo spin very similarly. And silk is just luscious no matter what form. I am guessing the very long ‘staple’ length of the silk and bamboo are helping you out! Wool can have such a short staple length that it will come apart on you if you don’t give ‘er enough twist. If you have a blog or site (or Rav) I’d love to see your spinning, so send me a link!

    • anastasiawraight says:

      I do have a blog! 🙂
      This is my latest attempt at spinning: http://fortheknitofit.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/wip-heavenly-squishiness-hand-spinning/

      Not as pretty as yours, but I’m happy with it so far. 🙂
      And I really enjoy your blog, by the way.

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