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31 March 2007 @ 06:56 am
So a friend has comissioned a scarf knit from my handspun from me, based on some yarn I've already spun but she so can't have because it's MINE! (I must say, my friend has fabulous tastes! This is my most favouritest skein evarrrrrrrrrrrrr.My mother said it looked like a Rumplestiltskin yarn, i.e. I spun straw into gold :D I have to agree. My mother rules.)

This is the yarn I already spun, which I'll be taking elements from:

This yarn is spun from Cotswold locks, which A) is reallllly heavy and B) isn't the softest of wools. Also the prep time and the VM was a pain, but not horrific.

She lovees the colours as well as the depth and richness of the colours, and she loves the shine. I know that the sheen of Cotswold really adds to the richness of the colours in this yarn.

She's also wanting for me to add in more "art yarn" elements, Angelina and sequins, to be exact. Both of which i'm totally down with, while still plying with the three metalic threads I did in the skein featured. I think that they'll add even more glitz and fun to an already gorgeous colourway.

My question is this:

What fiber, or fiber blend, would be a fair substitute for Cotswold locks?

My requirements are thus:

*Must have a sheen to it to maintain the extra depth added from the sheen. This just wouldn't look as great in, say, a Polypay (LOATHE Polypay.) or Targhee or Merino. It'd still be pretty, but nowhere near what I want for this.
*Must be nice for wearing around your face/on your neck, so it can't be a coarse fiber.
*Must not shed
*Must be dyeable with acid dyes (I use Sabraset, lurve the Sabraset!)
*Must be spinnable in worsted weight. I know all fibers *can* be, but some are better suited/more practical for it. I think anything thinner than worsted is going to look mighty funny with even a single-wide segment of strip sequins.
*Must not be anywhere near as heavy as Costwold is. I am assuming that a lower micron count means more air pockets=loftier yarn=less weight.

*Should be able to take a bit of a beating, this girl's one of my best friends and she can get a bit rough at times, but this is not an absolute requirement. She'd treat this scarf like gold, given she knows the work that's going to go into it, but I am also expecting her to wear this every day until it falls apart. She's a scarf kind of girl, and she lives out near Ithaca, NY, where it's cold like 9 months of the year. I used to live there myself, so I know much of the Ithacan winters. My hair and skin dances for joy to not be in that dry an area any longer!

I'm not really keen on the idea of mohair, I don't tend to really like mohair, I've never bought any which were a fine enough fiber for me to enjoy spinning, as it blooms out, looks all wiry-hairy, and is scratchy as all get out, and sheds while I knit it. Granted, a few mohair purchases really turned me off to the fiber as a whole, so it's possible that it's a great solution to this and I've just ben really unfortunate in my mohair shopping experiences, and there is mohair out there which is soft to the touch, and isn't a shed-a-palooza all over my lap, couch, and cat as I'm knintting it. I tend to touch my eyes a lot (I know, horrific habit!) and so when I've knit handspun mohair before, it tends to get in my eyes, and I spend a half hour rubbing them before I finally go to the mirror and fish out the mohair. Ugh. And, I've sucked mohair fibers down my throat in the middle of winter when it's all dry and static and the fibers shed and inevitably I laugh heartily three seconds later (I am always laughing) and down the hatch they go. Bleh. So...mohair I think is a no. For my own sanity.

I have been looking at silk, however I have no experience spinning it, and am not sure it can be spun at worsted weight in a practical manner. And how is it for adding strips of sequins into? I know that silk is, well, silky, and I don't want the sequin strip thread ends I pull to spin into the core of the yarn to end up pulling out in plying or during wear too quickly. All sequins can work their way out over time, I'd just rather not have it be immediately :D

In silks: I see that Tussah is very shiny, which is fufilling probably the most important requirement outside of Must Not Shed, but Bombyx doesn't seem to have a sheen to it. Is it just photos I'm looking at which aren't showing it accurately?

If I go with a silk blend, what ratio of silk to, say, Merino, should I be looking at to maintain the sheen that silk has? I don't want the yarn to have a dull finish by having too low a ratio. The 20/80 seems to not be shiny much at all, tencel merino seems to be shinier, but it's also stripey when dyed, the two fibers don't take up dye equally, or it's a trick of the light or something. I don't like that, I need for the DOS to all be deep for this.

Any suggestions and advice are welcome!

Oh, I do not have a pair of combs or a great drum carder at this time (mine is a very warped, home made by someone probably 50 years ago POS with a ridiculously low TPI or whatever that term is for how many teeth the cloth has. They're probably a quarter inch apart from eachother. It's alright for when I'm desperate, but I'd rather not be blending this all myself. This fall I'll be in a financial position to purchase a carder and combs, but right now I'm very much hand-to-mouth.

Oh, and she's paying for the mats, as well as my time, so I'm not the one footing the bill. This is a good thing, as she's prepared to pay for the most beautiful scarf on earth (I know, so humble!)

Thanks in advance!
Pippipippikneesocks on March 31st, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
Yea, I've come across really dull too.
I think what happens is somehow dyed dirty? I'm not sure.
Suri is odd. That dull that happens with it is really unique.