From Fiber to Yarn and Then Finally to Cowl: Spinning for a Complete Project

Batt and skein
The second batt I need to spin and the remaining yarn from the first batt

I started a new venture this past fall.  It’s something I never imagined myself doing.  I’ve always been content to just grab yarn off the store shelves, not worrying about anything other than how soft it felt or what color it was.  That all changed when I took a spinning class at Alma Park Alpacas, LLC.

My friend, Rose, and I decided to give classes at her shop.  I taught Beginner Crochet while she passed on her vast knowledge of fiber and spinning to those of us who had never picked up a spindle.

Being my usual self-conscious self, I felt like I had failed miserably with my first attempt.  I’m sure Rumpelstiltskin’s first attempt left much to be desired as well (or at least I imagine him as a young boy growling at the knots on the floor in front of him).

The batt, the leftover skein , and the finished cowl

At home with only the two bun sisters as my audience, I dropped the spindle and cursed my way into something that might resemble a crude rope (if you squint your eyes under the right light).  I persevered.  I was determined.  And it seems to have paid off.  Whew!

Fast forward three months.  I might not have reached Rose’s level of Zen yet, but I find spinning quite enjoyable.  Okay.  I admit it!  I’m hooked!  There is something magical about taking fiber and turning it into yarn. And now I can say it has been turned into a wearable object!

The Fiber

I had been eying Rose’s art batts the moment the spinning bug started to bite, but I was apprehensive because I didn’t want the lovely colors to end up as stuffing for a pillow.  I finally took the plunge with Kelp Forest and the first batt turned out well, but the second batt needs to be spun and plied with something else before I can declare it yarn.

The Pastels batt was always sitting in the cubby when I went into the shop.  I felt it calling to me like a lost puppy longing for affection so eventually I took it home.

Spinning the Fiber

Romney fiber is easier for a beginner like me to spin so it went pretty quick.  Though it was mostly pink, which is not my favorite color, I enjoyed seeing blue, orange, and teeny bit of yellow pass through my fingers.

Because I didn’t want to loose the individual colors if I plied it with itself, I plied it with ecru Falkland top.  I also wanted to make the yarn as long as possible.  Plying it was a bit of a challenge since the thinner bits of the Falkland kept twisting itself into knots.

When all was said and done, I ended up with about 157.6 yards.  I say “about” because my first niddy noddy was the plastic meshing from a heater filter that I cut to measure about a yard.  I have since purchased a true niddy noddy which is much friendlier on my arms.

The Cowl

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do something with this particular batt, but I couldn’t make up my mind what I wanted to do with it.  My first challenge was that crochet uses more yarn than knitting.  The Scrooge in my didn’t want to end up with only a coffee cup holder to show for my hard work.

At our weekly Knitting Social at the local library, I gave the five little skeins to my Mom who turned it into a cowl with an arrowhead lace pattern.  She said the yarn was fine to knit so I breathed a sigh of relief.  I didn’t want her complaining that it had unspun itself all over her sewing room like a can of snakes.

Looking at it as it sits on my computer desk in front of me, I’m happy with our collaboration.  The pink doesn’t overwhelm, though it is definitely the dominant color.  The texture is squishy, though not skin soft.

The End?

Not so fast!  There is 48 yards left.  And…

I found one more Pastels batt in my inventory!  Yippee!!  Maybe I’ll crochet something this time like a ribbed scarf.  Or I’ll put it aside until I find the perfect pattern.

To be continued…

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