I dyed some fiber in the Sailor’s Warning colourway, but I wasn’t happy with the way it came out. Don’t get me wrong — it was beautiful — but it just wasn’t quite Sailor’s Warning to me. It wasn’t different enough to be its own new colourway, but I wasn’t happy putting it in the shop when it didn’t look exactly as I’d intended.
…But how can I waste 4oz of beautiful, soft-as-clouds merino fiber?!? I can’t! And besides, I know that, even though it wasn’t exactly perfect as fiber, the colours will blend and soften when it’s spun and it will look gorgeous.
So I am spinning it up, and it will go in the shop as hand-spun. Keep your eyes open for it!
A customer recently wrote to ask me how much handspun yarn she could expect get from a braid of my hand-dyed fiber and, to be honest, I was at a bit of a loss. How much yarn you’ll get varies from spinning style to spinning style …and from spinner to spinner. The thicker the yarn, the less yardage; the thinner it’s spun, the more yardage. Beyond that, it’s a very hard question to answer.
And especially for me, because I hardly ever calculate the yardage on my handspun. I have no idea why — I just never do!
So I turned to my friend Natalie who is a more experienced (and excellent) handspinner and posed my customer’s question to her. She replied, “It’s usually 20 – 30 % less yardage than you’d get from the same amount (grams/ounces) of commercially spun yarn of the same weight (worsted, dk, fingering etc) because handspun tends to be denser. From 4oz, I’d expect 300-400 yards fingering; probably 200-300 of a dk/worsted range.”A much more technical and useful answer than mine!
And then she added, “Hard to judge though… It’s all very variable.” Which made me feel a bit better!
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to grab some photos of the Garden in Spring combed top — the very first item to sell from my shop — being spun up by its new owner. I cannot tell you what a delight it is to see the colours I created being turned into yarn — so exciting!
I love the way the green is coming out so grassy — exactly what I’d hoped to achieve. And the purple, when it mixed into the pinks, looked absolutely divine.