If you remember my post a few weeks ago, my challenge for the Tour de Fleece 2012 was to to try five new-to-me fibers. Today is Day 5 and I’ve finished my first one! Well, sort of finished. The blue above is my first finished skein: silk hankies, 50g / 330m. I haven’t measured WPI yet (this yarn hasn’t had the twist set yet), but I’ll guess a somewhere around a fingering weight on average – though it’s really all over the place. Because I was really a beginner with the hankies, the singles were, predictably, much thicker at the beginning of the bobbin than at the end. It turns out that silk hankies are really hard on your hands, and really difficult to draft evenly. That said, I did get much better at it as I went on – here’s two progress photos that should show the difference between the start and end of the bobbin:
I know the top Instagrammed photo isn’t that clear, but I hope you can see how much thinner and more consistent the single became as I went on. Plying helps, of course, but it is still very uneven. I can’t yet decide if I should prep the second half of this batch of hankies and spin it up the same, or if I should call this done and save the other half to work on separately now that my spinning of the fiber has improved. I might get something closer to a laceweight like I’d hoped for. On the other hand, 330m is an odd amount and I’ll get more useful yardage if I do the other 50g. On the other other hand, I might not be able to spin the second half the same as this skein, since I gradually changed over the 50g. Hmm.
In any case, I need a little break from the silk. My hands need a rest! I’m going to try alpaca next – this lovely sunshine-y batch from Spunky Eclectic that’s been in my stash for years.
I’m terrified of alpaca, really. I have no idea what to do with it. If you look online for tips, most people will tell you to blend it with wool or something, but this is what I have and it’s all beautifully hand-dyed, so I’m not going to mess that up with blending. This is maybe the one challenge fiber I’m properly scared of – it’s so lovely and cloud-like in this form, and I’m afraid I’ll turn it into twine. I’ve tried pure alpaca once before and it felt like rope; I didn’t even finish the whole 100g. I still have a little of that roving left, so I’m going to do some practice on that today before I start the good stuff tomorrow. Wish me luck!