Handspinning Cherries and Chocolate

Back in October, for Spinzilla Week, I started an ambitious spinning project that involved two pounds of downy soft mostly-alpaca roving in dark red and milk chocolate. I call it Cherries and Chocolate. Earlier in that week I had polished off eight ounces of corriedale and another four of a cotton silk blend. I’d picked the alpaca to work on next because it was so much fiber and I knew it would keep me going, keep me spinning, long after Spinzilla was wrapped up.

It was a good plan, a fun plan. But it was interrupted by the dastardly marketers at Louet. They sent me a bag of Northern Lights Violets and another bag of Dorset Down to spin up and review for my blog. How could I say no?

Well, all that yummy Louet fiber might have turned my head for a bit but I didn’t forget my Cherries and Chocolate. All this time I’ve kept the finished skeins out in my living room (where I could occasionally pet them) and I kept the unpsun roving tucked away in coffee cans (safe form marauding cats). This week I set myself the goal of getting it finished up and I did. But it took me all week because, I’m not at all a fast spinner.

Part of what slowed me down was the Feline Overlord (of course). She likes to sneak up on me while I’m at my wheel and then catapult herself into my lap. This causes me to

  • let out a startled yelp, and
  • mess up my spinning.

Sometimes that’s good enough for her and she goes away feeling smug. Sometimes she sticks around and sees what other damage she can do.

Its not easy to get spinning done when you live with the Anti-Spinning Feline Overlord. She is such a pain that I could blame my pokey-slow pace entirely on her and ya’ll would believe it. But she wasn’t the only thing distracting me from being a Production Spinner. What really slows me down is my Nook. A few years ago I realized that I could spin and read at the same time if I was reading from my Nook. There are no pages to hold apart in an ebook. You can adjust the text size from teeny-tiny to honking big so It can be a few feet away and still be read. All I have to do is prop the Nook up somewhere, get some fiber in my hands, and I’m off!

About half an hour after that I usually realize I’m spinning very, very, slowly.  Spiders could spin entire villages out of their butts faster than I’m making yarn.

Ehh. I don’t care. So it took me a whole week to fill up two bobbins and get them plied together. I got to spend that week with Kelly and the knitters at House of Lamspun and help them catch a killer (I was reading Knit one, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton). Reading and spinning are two of my favorite things and this way I don’t have to pick one over the other. Nice, right?

Also, I (eventually) finished my Cherries and Chocolate! It came out to be about 1500 yards (1370 meters). The dark red is 67% alpaca and 33% corriedale. The brown is 100% alpaca. The red alpaca/corridale roving had a staple length of about 3 inches (8 cm) and was pretty easy to draft. I spun it semi-worsted with just a little bit of pre-spin attenuating. The brown alpaca was short. Those fibers were only 2 inches (5 cm) and tended to clump in the way that lusciously soft baby alpaca does. I treated it to some fluffing and spun it semi-woolen.

What am I going to make with it? Jeez, you sound like everyone at craft night! I don’t know. I never know what it will be when I’m spinning. I just spin. It will have to become something big. Its 1500 yards of worsted weight yarn. That’s enough to make a sweater. Or a poncho. Or a small-ish blanket. Don’t know. But me and ravelry will figure something out.

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