Two Baby Dragon Eggs

Now that my precious punis are DONE DONE DONE! I’m ready to move onto the next project, one that I’ve been meditating on for nearly a month now. I have Lenten meditations, But they’re as yet too personal and informed to really write about well. Can I share these wooly meditations with you instead?

As I was nearing the tail end of the Blendlings, I started to wonder, what should I spin next? I knew I wanted to stay on the two-ply worsted thing, and I’m limited to the fibre stash I brought with me when I first moved up here. A couple of those things I set aside as things I wanted to spin when I got a little more practice, or wanted to blend with something I don’t have with me. That left these two:

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That’s a 100% polwarth braid from Pigeonroof Studios, and an art batt from Tempting Ewe yarns. (both purchased at Maryland Sheep and Wool festival in 2013.) As I stared at them, I realized, you know, they kind of go together. Kind of a lot.

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I pulled them out of their bags and stared at them some more.

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I opened them up and stared at them still more.

You can't see it in this picture, but the underside of the batt is a thick middle layer of kinda mermaid-colored faux cashmere and a bottom layer of a lot of hairy grey wool.

You can’t see it in this picture, but the underside of the batt is a thick middle layer of kinda mermaid-colored faux cashmere and a bottom layer of a lot of hairy grey wool.

I posted pictures of them on the Wool N Spinning group – and then it was all over. All it took was some friendly strangers saying “Those would look totally amazing together!” and I had to do it.

The obvious thing to do was to start sampling.

I’d been doing combo drafting for the Blendlings, so I figured that was the place to start. I pulled off a small piece of batt and pre-drafted it, and I stripped down some top, and I tried drafting them together into one singles, then plying the singles together.

This was an enormous pain. I felt like I was fighting with the fiber the whole time. Spinning an art batt worsted is a ticklish business at the best of times, but doing so while trying to make sure the Polwarth was getting in there felt impossible. “Welp,” I thought to myself, “I’m not doing that.”

I only had one problem. I loved the sample.

Like, I loved it. Doesn’t it look like a fantastical little dragon egg? The unevenness, the pops of color, the round poofiness, the way everything nutty about the art batt is calmed down by the polwarth being drafted into the same ply but not hidden by it… I had to have this yarn. But I knew if I tried to spin it that way, all eight ounces of it, I was just going to hate it. I did not want to do that to myself. I want to stick with spinning this time, and that’s only going to happen if I am having fun.

So the next question was, could I get similar results while spinning in a way that doesn’t make me want to light the fiber on fire? This is a job for… more sampling!

This time I did one ply of Polwarth, and one of art batt, and plied them together. This is called combo plying.

Combo draft (original) on left, combo plied (new) on the right.

You can definitely see the difference. The one on the right preserves all those wonderful colors, but looks much more barber-poley. I have no problem with barber poling, really, but I loved what that little bit of marling the combo ply was doing to the colors.

Ugh! This would not do. What other options do I have?

That’s when I called my mom and asked her to send up my handcards. They got here quite fast, but the two-week wait seemed like forever. Tune in next week to find out what I did when they arrived.

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