Have I mentioned that I’m participating in the Tour de Fleece, spinning each day during the Tour de France? Clearly this strikes a lot of people as a truly bizarre and quaint pastime. I am not an especially sports loving person, so from my point of view, this is great sport!
I have been spinning more of my eucalyptus dyed grey corriedale. I loved the 3 ply yarn I made from it, but it isn’t going to make gauge for the cardigan I now have in mind and will stripe in a way that won’t work for it either. This may be a clue that I should make the cardigan from some other fibre, of course, but I decided to try 2 ply, which raises entirely different issues about colour blending.
I’m struggling to get the colours to show right in photos… but this approach clearly will even out the colour variations without making them disappear. And perhaps it is time to try a swatch to discover how I am doing on gauge. I have been feeling squeamish since plying… two plies of different colours is not something I would usually be aiming to achieve. My beloved has offered the view that the yarn is lovely and will look ‘tweedy’, which sounds good to me…
I have a lot of Polwarth fleece, both brown and variegated white/tan. All of it gifted from pet sheep that live nearby. It is a privilege and it is also a difficulty. Washing fleece so fine and so greasy has been intimidating as well as slow. I have spun some in the grease, and washed some twice, and tried several different washing approaches. I have dyed and spun and spun and dyed. Two and three ply, corespun. you name it! I spun and knit an entire cardigan from naturally brown Polwarth, too.
And then one day someone at Guild said “I hate fine fleeces!” in my hearing, and it occurred to me that I do not have to spin it for the rest of my life. I lashed out and bought a considerable quantity (3.5 kg) of grey Corriedale (nothing to approach the stash of Polwarth, mind you) and it has been heavenly. I love grey fleece, and this is the loveliest corriedale I’ve ever had the pleasure to spin.
I have been dyeing it with eucalypt leaves and bark. I have oranges of many shades from rust and brick to flame to gentle sunset.
I have burgundy and plum.
And I also have some tans and walnuts. It appears I collected some bark that wasn’t exactly what I thought I had collected. But to be honest, I think these are lovely additions in this context. I’ve begun spinning yarns of many hues, chain plying to maintain the colour contrasts. Lovely. It’s hard to believe I can find these colours through combining bark and hot water and time with wool.
Now… I have figured out that what I would really like to do with at least some of this wool is knit a particular cardigan. And my beautful 3 ply yarn is too thick to make gauge for it! Possibly also for the design I have in mind those colour changes will not be ideal. So, I am about to embark on two ply yarns. This is my Tour de Fleece project.