Monday, December 22, 2008

Pharm knits

My friend Angela recently asked me to do some custom spinning for her. A Canadian friend of hers has hit a bit of a rough patch, to put it mildly, and Angela wanted to create a one-of-a-kind scarf steeped in sentimentality. She had very specific colors in mind: greens and golds of a summer field with hay rolls, sunshine yellow and sky blue, dawn and sunrise colors, bonfire reds, oranges, and smokey grays and browns, midnight blue with patches of white for the night sky and a little Glitz (fireworks and sparklers), and black. All of the colorways requested would progress from one end to the other, representing on some level the escape and solace in friendship and memories from life's darkess (the black).

Since finding pre-dyed fiber to match that order wouldn't be easy, I sent a request to my favorite dyer/supplier: Amy King. Considering the final project would have to be soft and hardwearing, I went with my current favorite fiber, superwash Corriedale. I gave Amy my instructions, allowed her some creative freedom, and in a matter of just a few days, had 8 oz of perfectly dyed fiber:

angelas roving2
Top arranged in anticipation of final knit - green progressing to the black and the the black moving back out to the green. Two nearly identical, perfectly dyed bumps.

I couldn't wait to start spinning, but still had a little more planning to do. One, Angela requested a bulky yarn. Two, she wanted a 2-ply. Finally, she wanted the two plies to sort of play off each other with the color - rather than have big chunks of color, she wanted something that would fade out of one color and into the next. I split each hunk of fiber into two equal strips and then exchanged one strip from one hunk with one strip from the other. This was sort of my control for the final yarn and I hoped that it would be enough to even out any discrepancies that might be glaring in the finished knit. Then, I spun the fiber on my Matchless using the 9:1 ratio and a supported long draw. I did very little pre-drafting and ended up with lofty, lovely singles.

The spinning went so fast that I never got a chance to take pictures of the singles, plus I was on a deadline! In a matter of days, though, I'd managed to plow through all 8 oz. I plied using the same ratio (9:1) and then wet-finished the yarn with a thorough soak in Eucalan, hot water, and some hand agitation once the water had cooled. The resulting yarn fluffed out to about 5-6 wpi. I calculated the yardage and want to say it all totaled somewhere over 200, but I can't find the receipt scrap that I scribbled that information on... Anyway, yarn!

angelas yarn7

angelas yarn black

angelas yarn6

angelas yarn

Angela's been knitting on the scarf for the last 8 days. When I saw her last Sunday, she'd managed to get through the greens and into the yellows and golds. By Thursday, it was reported she'd reach the halfway point. She's promised to take tons of photos of the finished scarf and I cannot wait to see them!


Sharon Rose said...

Wow!! Don't forget to post pics!!

Jenny Girl said...

Very colorful and pretty. I would love to see the scarf.
Have a happy and healthy new year.

loopykd said...

This is one of the reasons that I love spinning. This blog almost makes me wanna cry. You can so specifically give someone exactly what they want. There is so much control with the twist, color, and weight of the finished yarn. I can't wait to see the scarf.

As far as your spinning, it looks perfect. The colors are so beautiful and your pictures are great! I love spinning anything worsted or heavier cause it spins so quickly.