Dyeing Disasters and Silver Linings: Take Two

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!

How Much Yardage to Expect with Handspun Yarns

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.

Hand-dyed BFL Combed Top, in Garden in Spring

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!

The yarn spun by my friend from the Garden In Spring BFL

And then she added, “Hard to judge though… It’s all very variable.” Which made me feel a bit better!

Spinning the Garden In Spring

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.

Have a look!