This month marked the second to last month of the SweetGeorgia Yarns’ club fibre. Next month will be Katrina and my last time posting about our spinning adventures here! It is bittersweet as we have both been involved with club for almost 2 years and longer, both having received club prior as patrons. We were reflecting on some of the things we love about club this past weekend while we spun away with friends up on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, which is a beautiful part of our province only accessible by ferry. There were a few things about club we are really going to miss.
First, we loved the surprise every month – it’s just plain fun to receive something planned by someone else and shared with others.
Second, the challenge of spinning the colourway each month was welcomed by both of us – even if we sometimes complained about it at the outset to one another. When we receive colours and colourways that we wouldn’t normally purchase ourselves or that our friends and family would never dream of buying for us as a gift, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and helps us to re-imagine what colours we want to be working with. I can honestly say that in all the months I have been spinning club that about 50% of the time, I would not have purchased the braid of fibre if I saw it at a fibre festival (and those same braids were usually the ones that Katrina would, which makes me laugh at how different all of our tastes can be!). And the clincher? EVERY SINGLE YARN that I spun from club fibre I liked in the end. That’s incredible! I may not knit with them or use them in projects. Some of my yarns have been given as gifts or placed in our annual Artisans Sale for our local Langley Weavers and Spinners Guild fundraiser, but overall, I liked every single yarn.
This month’s yarn was no different. Felicia announced this month that December will be the last club installment but that November’s club colourway was meant to push us out of our comfort zone because the colours are meant to be unsettling. That they are! My friend, Jessica, commented that it looked like ‘unicorn barf’ and I kind of loved that idea – the further into spinning the fibre, the more I thought of my daughter (3 years old) and how much she would absolutely love this colourway. Her first comment when I came home after the weekend was saying, “Mama, that’s really pretty yarn.” I’ve already decided to knit a pair of toddler mittens for her at an incredibly tight gauge so that they stand up to wear and tear for her.
The spinning recommendations this month were to combination spin this fibre, either from something in our stashes or by combining the colours. I decided to combine the colours to create a heathered yarn. After opening up the braid and laying the fibre out on a large counter, I decided to break the fibre in the middle of the burgundy-purple, as well as in the middle of the cotton-candy pink.
I then folded the fibre in half and drafted from both ends at the same time to combine the colours.
As I spun towards the end of the folded fibre, I placed the remaining fibre across my pointer finger and drafted over the fold. The trick to drafting the two colours at once, throughout the entire spin, is to be consistent about creating a drafting triangle. That is the space where fibre sits just prior to becoming yarn – here, I was spinning short backwards draw, smoothing as I went to create a worsted-spun yarn. As I smoothed back to allow the twist to enter the drafted fibres, I used my fibre supply hand, here my right hand, to spread the fibres again to ensure I was drafting at least 2 colours at the same time. This takes practice and patience, and there are definitely places in my yarn that I was not able to achieve this every time!
These different drafting techniques create a slightly irregular yarn that is gently thick and thin but it’s so pleasing that I was happy with the results. There is a part of me that is very curious what this yarn would have looked like if I’d stripped each of the folded sections vertically 4-6 times prior to spinning, which would have created thinner pieces of fibre to hold and handle. The colours would have lined up in shorter repeats, as well.
I also wonder if the finished yarn, spun from thinner repeats of fibre, would have looked more heathered in comparison to this worsted weight yarn. None the less, I am actually quite smitten with this yarn and happy with this results. The yardage was low – only about 140 yards from the 100 gram braid but that’s more enough to make Norah her mitts with extra long ribbed cuffs for her wrists to stay warm.
The last part of club that Katrina and I are going to miss is the celebration of spinning colours that challenge and excite. Club is a great way to connect with others about how you might spin the fibre, how those choices affect spinning the singles and what the consequences were of those spinning choices. I challenge you to continue spinning those braids of fibre in your stash that are challenging and thought-provoking, not worrying too much about ‘wrecking’ that braid of fibre but instead celebrating different spinning techniques, approaches and results. It’s the way we grow and develop as spinners – and your confidence will increase 100-fold!
Have you delved into spinning club this month? We’d love to see what you’re doing. Please head over to the Ravelry group or tag your images with #sweetgeorgiayarns or #sgyclub on Instagram, so that we can find them!
Until next time, Happy Spinning!
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