The Red Lantern

I set so many little goals while I was spinning this color study. Finish during Tour de Fleece! … finish the singles in July! … finish the eighth battling by the end of vacation!

Well, that’s ok. I’m glad I didn’t take my goals too seriously this summer. But I did set one last goal: finish this yarn by the end of September, before the next breed and color study officially starts.

I did it! It was a really dicey round of bobbin chicken at the end, but I squeezed it all on there.

Winding it on the niddy niddy made me realize that this spin wasn’t long just because Turkish spindles are slow (and I’m slow with them). It was also a good amount of yardage! There were at least two hundred turns on the niddy, though I’ll have to recount because we were watching Star Trek.

ok I’ve gone back and recounted now. 303 turns, and initial estimates put total yardage at 429 yards! No wonder it took forever. Perils of flying by the seat of your pants, I guess – no sampling, no control card, just me and my spindle and the open road.

I intentionally added plenty of ply twist, even though the singles were not excessively tight. This whole time I have been picturing this bouncy Targhee fiber in those squishy barber poles that first attracted me to handspinning. I knew from all I’d heard about Targhee that the stuff could take the twist. And who doesn’t love the moment when you take an overtwisted yarn off the niddy?


I just lurve that.

I confess, it was silly of me to use the word “hideous” in that last post. I was experiencing a moment of panic, seeing the way colors were matching up. Indeed, a whole skein of any one of these barber pole pairings would not be my jam. But the whole idea was to see the affect of many pairings together. Together, they do create the impression of wild paints speckled all over one another.

This are two of the pictures that inspired Katrina for this study – it’s from the Indian festival of Holi. Rachel had asked everyone to post pictures of what spring is like where they live. These were posted by dimsumdumpling (you can find her post here).

It’s true that most images of spring that I think of are very safe. Floral, pastel, natural. I’m so happy that Katrina went with something more wild and challenging, something that made us stare at it for a while without even an idea of what to do with it. Something made me take that idea and go even wilder with it; I wanted to see those colors mix and interact without losing their powerful brightness.

(Speaking of powerful brightness, I was very concerned that I’d allowed some overlap between the same or similar colors. But I think those solid sections really make the yarn, giving the eye something concrete to bounce off of amongst all that busy speckling. An effect to remember.)

It was spring when we began, and now it’s fall again. We’ve had some lovely snow already, and the days are getting darker. I’m awfully thankful to have this skein of brightness in my hands – from the opposite end of the year, dyed on the opposite end of the country, inspired by the opposite end of the world. I need a little perspective this time of year.

I expect to cast it on as soon as it’s completely dry.

3 thoughts on “The Red Lantern

  1. Yes, totally cast it on as soon as it dries! Sometimes when I love a yarn a whole lot but don’t know what to do with it, I imagine just knitting a big square to to lay near my pillow. This would be one of those!


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