I made the decision to be in only one fiber club this year, the Sheepspot Breed Club with the addition of the Breed School – it cost a little bit more, but what I am learning is invaluable.
The second installment was Montadale that Sasha got at MDSW. I saw the fiber there and it was lovely! I was thrilled to learn that I would have the opportunity to try this fiber. The fiber was dyed beautifully – I selected the Autumn Wedding colorway. The fiber was processed nicely, although there were a few bits that appeared to be second cuts. I am not sure, but they were easy to remove and I had less than a dozen of them in the first braid. However, these bits did not impede my spinning in anyway at all; I was able to maintain good consistency by removing them as I spun.
Prior to this, I did not know anything at all about Montadale sheep at all, but Breed School and the information Sasha sends with the fiber are incredibly helpful. After our Breed School chat, I decided that I would spin this fiber with sock knitting in mind; I wanted a round, 3-ply, tightly twisted yarn that would be long wearing.
I concentrated on consistency as I spun the yarn with even treadling and drafting. I also knew that I wanted my yarn a little tighter than the ply back, so I accounted for this when I plied. It is the first time that I have spent this much time on the mechanics of spinning, but the results were so worth it! The first braid resulted in just over 816 yards of singles (or 272 3-ply yards) so I know there will be more than enough for a pair of socks once I have finished spinning the second braid.
I finished the yarn in hot water with a good bit of agitation, and a good thwacking before leaving it to dry flat. The yarn bloomed nicely in the bath. It ended up being a heavy fingering weight and not quite as fine as I had hoped for, but I think it will make a nice sturdy pair of socks. I could not wait to knit up a swatch and, as you can see, it is beautiful, almost gradient and it really makes a cable pop!
My “Year of Learning” has been full of new things, but the improvements to my spinning have been most significant.