On Giants' Shoulders

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Oh Dear, A New Addiction!

I've been spinning Dorset wool for a sweater for my son for months. I've been spinning it fine so it took hours and hours of spinning to make each very light skein (I've been doing them two ply so each skein is at least 7 hours of spinning and 1 of plying and we're talking skeins that weigh about 2 ounces). I've gotten pretty good at spinning fine and had resigned myself to the fact that Dorset seemed to "want" to be spun that way. However, while that sort of spinning was reasonably relaxing I felt like the girl in Rumplestiltskin. There was so much fleece and it took so long to spin it.

In June I found this knitting magazine with an almost sleeveless sweater on it that I fell in love with. The problem was the sweater was made out of a lumpy bumpy Merino yarn. I don't buy yarn anymore (at least not wool yarn). The closest thing I had to Merino was Dorset. However, I haven't deliberately spun lumpy bumpy yarn at all (not that my yarn is perfectly consistent, but that's what I aspire to produce). So what to do. The Dorset wouldn't "want" to be turned into lumpy bumpy yarn, would it?

Well it turns out that it didn't mind at all. I actually was able to spin lumpy bumpy Dorset yarn in way less time than fine fairly consistent Dorset yarn. Yesterday I spun the last skein I needed for the sweater (or at least I hope I have enough) and dyed it with two shades of Rit Dye on the stove in an aluminum roaster pan. The colors didn't come out quite as expected (dyeing is almost always experimental and serendipitous around here), but the resultant yarn is still pretty.

Last night I started knitting. I love the feel of this yarn. It's bouncy and lofty. It's softer than Romney. It feels nearly as nice as the commercial merino I knit with nearly a decade ago. Because I'm knitting with a reasonably bulky yarn and size 10 1/2 needles the knitting is going quickly.

Now I understand how someone can spin yarn to sell. If you're spinning lumpy bumpy yarn the work goes quickly enough that you can actually produce a significant number of skeins in a reasonable time. Now I have hopes that I will someday get through all those bags of Dorset fleece that are sitting in my computer room. Now I no longer look at them and sigh in dismay. Now I actually like spinning Dorset. Now I believe that Dorset wool isn't just destined for the compost pile. Now I wish there were more hours in the day that I could spend spinning and knitting it. Oh dear, I really do think I've acquired a new obsession...

Do you think once I finish this sweater that I should sit down and spin up several skeins of the Dorset and send them to friend Karen so that she can support her knitting addiction???? She'll have to let me know.


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