the second skein

Maybe it’s something about this chill autumnal air, but after a two-year hiatus, I’ve been feeling a real urge to get my spin on again. Mostly I blame the juicy pictures of artfully-dyed fibre and freshly handspun yarn that I keep seeing on other people’s blogs, which make me so desirous of handspun yarn myself. (Alright, to some extent I can only blame myself for going out of my way to look for pictures of other people’s spinning…) I’m such a lover of all things woolly that there is little else that fills me with such lust than beautiful images of pure handspun loveliness. Except maybe pictures of dinner in recipe books. But that’s another matter. I think what really did it for me this time was something I discovered last week: WoolWench’s special Valentine’s yarn with crocheted hearts in. It’s stunning. I am so impressed by the patience and care that went into making this wondrous stuff.

Anyhow, at the weekend I found myself musing out loud about how lately I had been feeling more mentally prepared to start spinning again than I had done in a long time; then realised how ridiculous that sounded, and how I would never spin anything unless I actually sat down and did some spinning. So I fetched and dusted off my poor neglected spinning wheel and set to work. I picked up where I left off with the light grey Corriedale fibre that I was last using when I unintentionally gave up spinning two years ago, and spun until I had about half a bobbin’s worth. Then I started afresh on a new bobbin, and filled that one halfway too. And then I really went for it and plied the two together! Woah. All of a sudden Sunday became an unexpected spinning frenzy.

Fortunately, as I was pondering to myself on what to do next with my newest little beauty, I read the advice on the ever-wise Knitty about knitting with handspun yarn and discovered the importance of washing it first, before attempting anything else. I dutifully followed their instructions, and my yarn is hanging up to dry as I write. I quite enjoyed washing it, as putting it in hot water somehow made the yarn smell super sheepy and comforting. Maybe that’s not to everyone’s taste, but I liked it.

And now have a happy little 31g skein of very poorly spun light grey Corriedale, all ready to use. Initially I was hopeful that, if combined with my first ever skein of handspun yarn (that’s the one with the minty blue twist in the pictures) – of what I think was a mixture of undyed Wensleydale and Blue-faced Leicester for one ply and a light blue merino for the other – together that would be about enough to make a hat. But then I weighed the first ever skein and realised there are only about 14g in it, so I suspect that a whole grown-up sized hat might be pushing it. Which, I suppose, means I will just have to go and spin some more before I can go forth and create my crowning handmade, handspun masterpiece. Watch this space for further developments. But not too closely…