Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spindler's Challenge - "Going the Distance"

Yes, it's a new month and that means a new Spindlers' challenge. This month the theme is "Going the Distance". Quite a few people (myself included) couldn't help but think of the Cake song by the same name. In fact, it's one in my regular iPod rotation. But it just didn't really suggest anything in particular for yarn to me.

Really, my first thought in going the distance was not for a particular kind of yarn or color, but the idea that completing an entire, challenging project is going the full distance. And the start of any project like that is not just picking up what you want to spin and making it, but sampling your wool, first.

Yes, it's the dreaded "S" word, the "swatch" of the spinning world. The thing most beginners could happily do without. Because of the small amounts of fiber that are common put-ups, it's very hard to sample. Take out a few grams of fiber, and suddenly you might not have enough of that one-of-a-kind dyelot to make anything. But sampling is still worth it and a very good practice if you need to know if what you have will actually make what you want.

We just got our next Into the Whirled SAL fiber (did I post the old one? Oh yes, here it is!). The colors make me want to do colorwork socks, so I really need to get sock yarn out of the fiber. That meant I really needed to sample some to see how thin to spin the single.

But, I only bought four ounces. How do you sample for four ounces when you need almost that much for a pair of socks? You grab the same fiber dyed by the same lady, but in a different color! Luckily I have a grab-bag of scraps from her and I plucked out one that I was certain was the same as the SAL wool and fell to it.

In a sort of concurrent inspiration, a friend suggested that the song "I can go the distance" from the Disney movie "Hercules" could provide inspiration. It's really cute, with a nice theme and the young man singing has a lovely, clear voice. The bronze, brown and gold really called out to me and happily one of my scraplets matched!

Spindler's Challenge - "Going the Distance"
I dissected my favorite sock yarn and taped one single from it down to a notecard for reference and then spun to match its thickness. I then Navajo-plied my sample, washed it and whacked it firmly and hung the mini-skein to dry.

It's perfect! But.. it's not the right fiber. After the fact I found out that the sample fiber is probably BFL, and I'll be spinning Falkland for the SAL. Oh, well. It was a good first lap!

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