Friday, January 15, 2010

it's not easy being green

4oz Wensleydale
This Wensleydale fiber was cursed.
Wensleydale singles
But first, the specs:
Wensleydale laceweight singles from Cloverleaf Farms
spun short-forward draw, fulled to finish
Wensleydale singles
this was my second time spinning wensleydale, but since my first time was the second or third yarn i ever made and i had no idea what i was doing, this may as well have been the first time. the fiber was really difficult to draft. there was a ton of felted and short bits that i had to keep pulling out or it would create a lumpy knot. occasionally i'd hit a sweet spot that was smooth to draft but it was pretty rare.

i put my wheel on a low ratio and concentrated on low-twist, because i'd read that wensleydale gets twiney if spun with too much twist. well, i must've done too good a job on that, because when i tried to skein it, the yarn kept falling apart. i stupidly kept up with skeining for awhile before i realized that i should just run it back through and add more twist. it still fell apart in a few spots the second time, but overall it was much better.

because i left the yarn as a single, i decided fulling was a must. i had read that wensleydale doesn't felt that well, so i made sure to manhandle the yarn during finishing. when i put in the yarn to soak, the water turned an instant dark green. i rinsed many times, but the dye just kept on leaking. i gave up on the final rinse when the water was just fairly and not entirely green. i should have tried soaking in vinegar but i was pretty tired by this point.

i thwacked the hell out of the yarn and left it to dry. when i tried to re-skein it the next day, it was so felted that at times it was difficult to get the strands to separate, and yes, it still broke in several places.

having gotten all of that off my chest, i really love the finished yarn. it has a lovely sheen and the halo is gorgeous. i love the subtle color shifts and it's still reasonably soft. i think it'll coordinate really well with the allspunup fiber, and i should have plenty of yardage for a project.

i started spinning the allspunup braid, and it is going much more smoothly. i moved to a higher ratio and am now concentrating on adding enough twist for it to hold together. there are also many fewer felted sticky bits to remove. i'm still thinking of pattern possibilities but i'm pretty certain that this pair will be used together.


  1. You know from here the yarn looks lovely. Sounds like it wasn't combed as well as it could have been or when they dyed it they may have manhandled it.

  2. I love the green color. I've spun Wensleydale twice before, very thin, same ration as always, and navajo plied it. I have yet to knit with it, but I liked the outcome.
    I don't like singles, and your experience convinced me, that it's not worth it.

  3. I have to say, it looks really great despite the issues you had with it! I've done Wensleydale as (thicker) singles before and liked it.

  4. It's a beautiful color. Your spinning process reminds me of some mystery fiber I have in my stash. It drives me buggy.

  5. Thank you for the spinning story - I love spinning details! I'm very curious as to how you will use these 2 together. (I'm holding off on spinning my ASU Wensleydale since the colors are so similar to my December FatCats - may save it until next fall - gorgeous fiber!)



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