My second Tour de Fleece batch of spinning was a little pile of alpaca, from Spunky Eclectic, but first I played with a bit of alpaca left from the first time I tried to spin it, which was a terrible disaster. I had no idea what I was doing and I totally turned it into rope. Scratchy, dense, horrible. So before I even started on the lovely Spunky Eclectic fiber above, I practiced on the other stuff:
I read everything I could find on Ravelry first and the general idea seemed to be to spin from the fold, underspin the singles, then overply them together. I’ve spun from the fold once or twice before, but now that I’ve done it a bit more, I’m pretty sure I didn’t really get it then. Now I see the how it works properly and I quite like it as a technique! It does seem much easier to control slippy fibers that way, and keep the twist right where you want it.
The practice skein was silky-ish to the touch, but still quite scratchy around my neck, but a massive improvement over the last time. I also navajo-plied that one, which wasn’t necessarily the best idea, since I have a much harder time controlling the plying amount that way. I’m really glad I worked those kinks out first though, I think it paid off!
It’s actually still not fully dry, but I keep testing it for softness anyway. It definitely feels lovely to the touch, maybe a little prickly around my neck, but that’s not really fair since it’s still a bit damp. I could swear it’s softer now than yesterday, but I can’t really be sure. I’ll report back at the end of the tour. Anyway, I haven’t measured this skein yet, but it looks about fingering-weight-ish at the moment. I’ll measure up when it’s properly dry.
The other day, I had to admit that my ‘5 new-to-me fibers’ goal was totally unrealistic. Actually, that’s not fair, it would’ve been fine if the fibers I chose weren’t ones that want to spun so thinly! If I’d gone for big bulky wools, I could’ve done it easy. But silk, alpaca, and now bamboo are all fibers that can’t help but be thread-thin. So I had to bring it down to 3 new-to-me fibers, and next year I’ll know better how to make a realistic goal for myself. But I will try to finish my full 5 after the tour though, I still have some silk I’m dying to try, and some new wool breeds.
There’s still a few days left though, and now I’m working on some bamboo:
Which is turning out to be a really easy spin! Of course, now I’ve jinxed it and it will turn out looking awful in the end. But so far, it’s going really well – it’s slipped away from me a few times, but otherwise, it’s kind of like spinning butter. The challenge in this one is turning out to be keeping those colors from turning muddy – they’re gorgeous when spun, but it’ll be really easy to let that orangey-red and aqua mix too much and become sludge. I also have no idea how I’ll ply it to keep it pretty, I might have to test a little first. In any case, this is the first of my TdF fibers that is really pleasant to spin, not hard work at all – I can’t stop thinking about getting back to it!