Houston, We Have A Problem

Sometimes, my best laid plans are viciously torn asunder by the spinning fates waylaid. I finished spinning the 2nd ply of cashmere/silk and, on Saturday afternoon, proceeded to ply them together into a lovely 2-ply yarn. Throughout the plying, I was mesmerized by the light glinting off the silk and enchanted by the luxuriousness of the cashmere. I spent the entire process lost in my dreams of how elegant a midnight blue Faberge cowl with pearls was going to look at Christmas. The yarn looked a little thin when I was plying – more like a fingering weight, but I easily convinced myself that it was because I’ve never worked with cashmere and maybe it just didn’t look as ‘fluffy’ as wool. That could happen…right? RIGHT?

Well, the yarn didn’t just look thin – it was thin. About twice as thin as I had hoped. Now this is completely my fault – I didn’t test spin (shhh – I never do) which is a total slap in the face to Murphy, but it actually works well the majority of the time. I spin for enjoyment and am (usually) quite happy with whatever skein comes off the wheel – there is so much uniqueness that goes into each skein of yarn – a one of a kind work of art – that I simply try to relax my type A personality, go with the fiber flow, and let the yarn become what it wants to be naturally.

But…and this is big…I don’t usually spin with a project in mind. Rather, I spin and then let the handspun tell me what it would like to become. I’m pretty sure this is where I took a left-hook swipe at fate and got smacked down big-time. With this yarn I wanted a specific weight (sport-worsted) and yardage (ca.150 yards) for my Faberge cowl. What I ended up with Saturday afternoon was a light fingering weight yarn that was 310 yards. Now don’t get me wrong – the yarn is pretty. But it’s clearly not going to work for what I wanted. I thought about knitting a different project, but either the yardage was wrong for the project or the projects were for hard-wearing items (like mittens), which wouldn’t stand up well if knit in cashmere.

So last night I did the only thing I could think of and sent the skein back through the spinning wheel, adding left handed (plying) twist to it. Then I wound a center-pull ball and did an andean ply (of the already 2-ply yarn) to give a cabled yarn that was worsted weight and 150 yards. I love it!!! One small victory over the Moirai. I’m hoping that the cabled yarn will work out even better since cashmere has such a short staple length and the extra plying should hold the fibers better and help to keep it from pilling.

I know it’s difficult to see, what with the shine from the silk and the intense color, but if you look closely at the twist in this photo it looks like a cable rather than a simple twist. This skein took 4 ounces of the 50% cashmere/50% silk fiber or two 2-ounce braids.

At the moment, I’m waiting on an order of these beads. Go ahead and take a peak – I’ll wait. Aren’t they lovely? So, while these beads aren’t technically the type called for, they are the same size. The only thing I’m a bit concerned with is the hole size. Keeping my fingers crossed. So, at the moment I have a few days on my hands without anything on the needles OR the spinning wheel – oh, what is a girl to do????? I think I’ll go stash diving – maybe find a lone skein to make a hat or some mittens for my little folks…maybe some fiber I’ve never tried…an old project that was never finished? Who knows, at the very least I’ll turn the stash over and see what happens…

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