Friday, November 2, 2012

Starry Starry Night

Last week I elevated my travelling fiber hoarder status to a new level by journeying with some friends to Rhinebeck. Rhinebeck, NY, is the home of the Dutchess County Sheep & Wool Growers Association. Up until now I've just been going to the Hemlock Fiber Festival in Hemlock, NY, but I had a little free time and a bee in my bonnet about going to something a little bigger. So my friends Denise, Channyn and Linda headed out with me for some fun in Dutchess County.

So, I found a fewwww things I liked. The purchase that I found most interesting was fiber called Starry Night, from Tintagel Farm. It's a blend of 45% Mohair, 45% Wool, 10% Llama, and Angelina. The vendor created this lovely fiber based on Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting:

My friend Channyn says I need to show you the full evolution of the fiber, so here's what it looked like at the festival. You can see why it caught my attention. I loved the idea of taking colors from a painting and making fiber with that blend of colors. It seemed like such a creative idea. I'd like to try that myself, so now I need to ponder how I might go about it.
I spun it up on my drop spindles. So, a pound of fiber filled up four big drop spindles.
And then I plied it. Four balls of yarn doesn't go very far, in my humble opinion, so when I was plying, I tried a couple of different ideas. First, I plied the single to itself. And second, I tried plying to another single with another fiber I've been working with. The second fiber, a slate blue, is 50% pygora 50% cashgora. The pygora/cashgora blend is from Firefly Farm. While the Starry Night single was pretty soft, the pygora/cashgora blend was even softer. I thought it would make a yarn with a softer handle, and it did:
So adding in the slate blue definitely softened the color. The slate blue plied with Starry Night is on the right:
Here's all the yarn I made. Personally, I don't see a lot of difference between the two yarns. I'll bet you can't tell which is which in this picture:

And then I knit both up into a swatch, which nearly sent me into a coma, because knitting does that to me. The section circled in yellow is the two ply yarn with one ply Starry Night and the other the Pygora/Cashgora blend, and the rest is the two ply of Starry Night:

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