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Spinning Challenge 2015: January

On a whim, I decided to join Merinelle’s spinning challenge. The idea is to spin at least 100 g of fiber each month according to the monthly challenge, and to step out of your spinning comfort zone.

The January challenge was to duplicate a commercial yarn in terms of yarn weight and yardage. For the commercial yarn, I chose Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals, an aran-weight wool/mohair blend, 80 m/50 g (88 yd/1.76 oz), partly because it was a thicker yarn but mainly because it was the only singles (as in not plied) yarn in my stash.

I’d never spun singles before. Of course, you always spin singles first before plying but I’d never spun singles deliberately and balanced singles, no less. For the fiber, I chose a very-deep-stash merino from The commercial yarn was about 10-12 WPI, depending on whether you count the halo or not. Using that as a yardstick, I spun the fiber on the largest (slowest) whorl on my Sonata jumbo flyer, 5:1 ratio. The finished single was shocked (or fulled) by sinking it alternating in super hot and ice cold water. I wasn’t quite sure of what it should look like coming out so I repeated the shock treatment three times. After the third time, the yarn looked like it would be a completely felted blob if I shocked it any further, so I stopped there and let it rest in a lukewarm bath with a splash of vinegar before hanging out to dry. Drafting evenly was a challenge, but on average, the yarn comes to the 10-12 wraps per inch of the original. The texture is quite different because the commercial yarn is a shiny and slick wool/mohair blend and my fiber was fluffy merino. And I was able to get much more yardage per pound out of the merino. Very airy and fluffy indeed, even though it was spun worsted. On the whole, I’m very pleased with how my first ever singles yarn turned out. It might not resemble the commercial yarn in every respect but at least it’s thicker and fluffier than what I usually spin. Come to think of it, it looks more like Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

  • On Ravelry: Blueberries

  • Fiber: merino top in Arandanos ('blueberries' in Spanish)

  • Yardage: 394 m (436 yd)

  • Skein weight: 107 g (3.8 oz)

  • Grist: 368 m/100 g or 1828 ypp

  • Plies: 1

  • Yarn weight: Worsted/Aran

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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