The 7% solution
Tuesday September 26th 2017, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Spinning

Usually Colourmart will twist a very thin yarn into a thicker one for you for $5 a cone.

But this one? No way, too twisty, they’d tried, don’t ask, it didn’t work out.

For what it was (a mill closeout of cobweb-weight 93/7  14.5 micron black ultra-ultra-fine merino/vicuna) and how much it was ($18/150 g ppd), I was willing to find out how hard it would be to do on the wheel. Pure vicuna yarn ran $400 an ounce last time I checked. I had bought a cone of the 2% vicuna, was amazed at what an incredible yarn that 2% made it into, and then this one showed up on their site. I didn’t buy it all, but I bought enough to make into a usable yarn on the third spinning-wheel bobbin.

So here’s what I learned today. Yes it kinks back on itself in a heartbeat. It will literally throw your yarn for a loop. Once you start plying that wheel has to keep going until you’re done, with one hand holding the strands slightly aloft like a distaff, bringing them together and keeping them from snagging on your clothes, and the other hand controlling the twist as it feeds onto the bobbin.

If you stop and wind it around the knob to place-hold it and come back, you’ve lost your slight tension on that multitude of strands. Suddenly thinking, wait–if I’d put a book on them next to me on the seat before getting up it probably would have been okay? One time the mess was bad enough that I broke it off right there and declared it done: those strands were not willing to straighten out individually. At all. I felt for the woman at Colourmart.

My finished first skein, held in the air, twisted slightly at the bottom. Given the cobweb’s original twistiness, I think I improved it. I think.

But oh my goodness there is no way to describe how soft that yarn felt running through my hands as I aimed for a knittable thickness, and that was with the mill coating still on it. It was like there was almost nothing there to feel, it was so light and so extremely soft.

I’m glad I bought it. It will take a lot of time to ply all those cones (4703 yards each) and ply again, two done S twist, then Z twisted together to balance. Scoured and preshrunk, it came out with a slightly nubbly look. It is not a perfect yarn.

But oh the vastness of that softness… Even Richard squishy-squished it. (Okay, yes, I asked. “Soft,” he duly pronounced. Thank you, honey!)

Yeah. So. Unless there are a few in someone’s cart, where they’re allowed to stay for a month, that one is sold out. But the 16 micron merino with 2% vicuna (direct link fixed) that started all this? Amazingly soft, smoothly and commercially spun, and good to go–it’s 4-ply. Knit it doubled makes fingering weight, double that, worsted weight, no spinning wheel needed. Oh, and: right now everything on their site is 20% off.

As I told my sweetie re the 7%, I’ll probably never get a chance to knit with a yarn like this again. Knowing I’d have to do all that work, it was worth it.

2 Comments so far
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I marvel at your knowledge and expertise!

And then, add all the kindness that’ll be knitted with this ever so soft yarn??? Wow…

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 09.27.17 @ 6:10 am

I’m trying to avoid yarn purchases, and then you go and post this. I think I’ll have to tell myself to wait for more of the higher % vicuna stuff, just to hold myself back!

(Back from a trip, by the way – glad to see so much knitting coming off your needles!)

Comment by twinsetellen 10.02.17 @ 8:07 pm

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