Yay! I pestered Vera (she of the yarn for my Skinny Cat Sweater) about starting a fiber CSA program (she already has a veggie CSA–if you live in Chicago, you can get in on that action this summer), and she obliged with a homegrown handspun CSA. Of course, bought my share, which gives me until April to destash a fuckload of yarn so that I won’t be breaking my destash rules! I’m also going to get a share of the MV fiber CSA. I’ll bet a lot of small fiber producers will start doing this. I certainly hope so. It’s excellent knowing the source of your fiber, and anything that supports micro-agriculture is fine by me!
[Here’s the haul I brought back from YarnCon. The sport stuff went into my Skinny sweater; the light bulky stuff on the left is going into a little cardigan, along with some crazy StoneLeafMoon handspun (crappy picture; I should replace that!).]
But that April deadline means look for a destash sale coming up soon!
In other semi-destashing news, I’ve been busting my hump getting all the fiber together for these combed tops I’m getting made with all my odds and ends. I sent of the fiber for the Local Color mix last week, which is all Kansas fiber grown within an hour of my home. I’d guesstimate it’s about 2/3 alpaca, with the remainder llama and shetland. I am VERY excited about what should be a beautiful heathered natural brown.
I’ve also got a Kansas Snow (local whites) mix and a local light colored mix I’m tentatively calling Oh How I Love My Oatmeal, but that might change depending on how it turns out. Like the Local Color, it’s from within an hour of here. The white mix is about 45/45/10 alpaca/MerinoX/llama, and the light mix is actually in about that same proportion, but with the sheep contributor a very soft RomneyX instead of MerinoX.
I’ve been washing and dyeing all the stuff, because the washed minimums are much lower than the raw minimums. I am so very happy to be done now. I would vow against any new raw fiber for the rest of the year, but I know myself. But I can vow against anything new until I meet my destash goals. So there’s that.
Now, in the non-local category, I’ve got 2 dyed lots: a violet-blue blend and a vibrant green blend (I hope–it’s hard to know how all the colors will combine).
The blue-violet blend hopes to be both soft and sturdy. It includes a wool contribution from Suffolk, Cheviot (originally in my Moody roving, but I wasn’t ever fully satisfied with the color, so I overdyed dark and threw it into the kitty), overdyed soft Romney and colored Lincoln, plus dyed alpaca and kid mohair. I’d put it at about 50% wool, 35% alpaca, 15% kid mohair.
Then we’ve got a very soft, bouncy green mix (again, fingers crossed–there’s a fair amount of blue in there, but I’ve tried to balance it with a lot of yellower green) that will work out to about 1/3 each Rambouillet, Merino, and alpaca.
Here’s the roving that started me on the whole combed tops mission. It’s hand-dyed Rambouillet with a tiny bit of hand-dyed nylon icicle sparkle. I love the color, but the roving is really neppy and rife with VM. Every time I’d get to spinning it, I’d be cursing it within a few minute and move on to something else. But I’m conceptually in love with the stuff, so I couldn’t just write it off. And after the miracle Zeilinger worked on my other neppy, VMy rovings, it was really just a matter of time. But there wasn’t nearly enough to meet the tops minimum. At first, I dyed up and planned to blend it with some medium wool & nylon roving I had made for socks, but I decided that throwing 1/3 cush into 2/3 tough wasn’t giving the deserved love to my cush. (But I’m going to make some fabulous sock batts with the stuff I held back, maybe blended with a little bamboo…)
So instead I dyed up some white alpaca fleece I had, and made up the minimum in hand dyed commercial merino. I feel a little dopey paying to re-process a bunch of commercial merino, but what can you do? I expect a dreamy bounce and softy softness, but I’m less secure about the color. I’m worried I don’t have enough yellowy green to neutralize the blues (which you can really see below). I already have a teal blue roving (Blue Lagoon), so I want it to be very distinct and hopefully, complex and a little on the retina-burning side.
I’ve also been reusing the unexhausted dye to dye lots of other random fiber for batts. And aside from washing and washing and dyeing and dyeing, I’ve also been spinning and spinning!
I’ve finished up a bunch of YIP (just one more to do and I’ll have everything off the bobbin!):
The light one was spun from a random batt that was used to pack a spinning wheel I bought from Holland. It’s sturdy! The little skein is a test of some hand-pulled alpaca roving I’m working on. And the other 3 are for my Stockholm souvenir sweater, made of batts I bought on my vacation last summer. I plied each of the colorful batts with Beaverslide natural black to tone and unify them a bit.
Here’s all the yarn for the sweater, which is looking like my April sweater, unless I finish a second February sweater, very unlikely. I’m planning a cardigan that goes from blue to green to yellow, trimmed with brown. But I haven’t picked a pattern. The default of course is top-down raglan, my favorite snoozer sweater; but maybe I’ll try something new.