Alpaca Silk

This alpaca/silk I finished spinning the other day is finally dry, measured, and skeined up.  I ended up with about 270 yards of mostly fingering-weight yarn.

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I say “mostly fingering” because there are a few spots where it’s more of a sport weight, but they’re actually pretty few and far between.  I was amazed at how consistently I was able to spin this fiber.
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The fiber is from Abstract Fiber and it created a heavenly soft yarn.  My only complaint is that something about their dyeing/prep process seems to pack down the fibers pretty tightly so that there is a lot of pre-drafting needed to fluff up the fiber so it’s spinnable.  The colorway is Mt. Hood Rose and the fiber is 70% alpaca, 30% silk.  My LYS has chosen the Rustling Leaves Beret as the February knit-a-long and I think I will see how it looks in this yarn.  I’m hoping the yarn is a solid enough color that it doesn’t obscure the pattern.

What next?

Since I finished the alpaca/silk that I had been working on on my wheel, I need to pick what my next wheel project will be.  The trouble is I’m torn.  I have so much lovely fiber that I feel like I want to spin ALL of it.  Right NOW.  So I’m asking you.  What should I spin next?

First up, I have this luscious 100% Tussah Silk top that I got at sock summit in July.  It’s from Teresa Ruch Designs.  The color is so vibrant and it’s so soft that when I touch it I feel like my hands must be covered in sandpaper.  The only downside is that I’ve never spun 100% silk before so there may be a steep learning curve.

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Next option is the mind boggling roving from Abstract Fiber that I got at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.  It’s 50% merino and 50% tencel.  The colorway is called “silver” and the reason I say that this is mind boggling is that it actually “looks” silver.  I didn’t know it was possible to give fiber a metallic look… at least not until I saw this for the first time.  It’s not as soft as the 100% silk, but still very soft.  The only downside is that I’ve worked with Abstract Fibers before and while their colors are absolutely amazing something about their prep or their dyeing makes the roving really packed tight so it takes a lot of extra prep to “re-fluff” to the point where it’s easily spinnable.
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Last but not least is some good hearty 100% BFL that I got on the Portland Yarn Crawl.  (If you can’t tell, there are a lot of yarn/fiber related events in the Portland area.  It gets expensive.)  This is from Black Trillium Fiber Studio and the colorway is called Emerald City.  I have never spun with this particular dyers roving, but BFL is one of my go-to fibers for hours of simple mindless spinning enjoyment.  It is the least temperamental fiber I’ve found.  I curse way less at BFL than any other fiber.  The only downside here is that, while BFL is amazing fiber to work with from the simplicity standpoint, it lacks some of the sexiness of silk, merino, and other wonderful butter-in-your-hands luxury fibers.
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Your votes will decide.  What do you think I should start next?

More spinning

It’s been kind of a major weekend of spinning for me.  For those of you not in law school, this is how it works.  Your whole grade is determined by your score on the final exam.  There are no mid-terms, essays, or anything else for the 13 weeks of the semester, just general reading homework and class leading up to one big test.  While this makes the last third of the semester absolute hell, it actually means that the first several weeks of the semester are kind of relaxed (at least I’ve never begun preparing before the half-way mark–too likely to forget before the test comes.)  I’ve taken the relatively relaxing beginning of the semester to get lots of fun fiber stuff done (in anticipation of the later hell that will keep me from the fiber.)

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For Christmas, my mom gave me this yummy soft alpaca merino blend.  Turns out there is an alpaca farm not far from where she works and she stopped by to investigate.  She picked me up this naturally colored fiber along with two lighter shades as well.  My mom also got me the drop spindle for me for my birthday.  It’s the Knit Picks Turkish spindle.  The quality of the spindle is only so-so.  Clearly an example of “you get what you pay for.”
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I spin a drop spindle by flicking the shaft between my fingers (sort of like you would as if you were snapping.)  This particular spindle doesn’t work well with my method because the arms don’t fit very snuggly around the shaft.  This means that sometimes the shaft spins but the arms don’t.  Now that I have more fiber wrapped around the arms, it seems to prevent this problem, but it was a real pain when I was first starting.  I only have about 2 ounces, so my plan is to try to spin this as a stable single to maximize yardage.  We’ll see if it works…