I went to the NwRSA Conference Spin-In on Saturday. What fun! I didn’t get my act together in time for the Back to Basics Spinning with Judith, but did have an opportunity to sit down to a free color workshop with one of my favorite people, Micayla Lee. I also bumped into a lot of people and had a nice spinning & chatting session with Georgean. Georgean pulled out her laptop and showed me The Sole Solution. I didn’t even realize that it was something that I needed, but I think it’s going on my birthday list (next week).

Of course, my pocketbook did not survive the vendor booths unscathed. Here’s what came home with me …

Only Natural Black Pearl Silk Rovings(Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures.)
These came from Pastiche. Can you believe that these cultivated silk rovings were dyed with natural dyes? She calls this line, Only Natural. In the sun light, you can see a bit of amber, green, blues, lavenders in all that beautiful greys (indigo, logwood purple, fustic and osage orange). Black Pearls indeed. Absolutely gorgeous. These were the only two skeins ever made because she has never been able to reproduce this dye lot. (I had it hidden until she got back to her booth so I can buy it.)

Dicentra Designs RovingsDiscentra Designs. Now, this woman has an eye for color. Wow! Even though she was in the back corner of the gymnasium, you can see all her glorious colors as soon as you enter the room. It helps that she was upstairs near the railing. I bought 4 different rovings from her. One I started to spin almost immediately (below). Left to right, silk-wool-angora blend (colorway Lobelia), silk-wool blend (colorway Elessar), tussah silk (colorway Dimdrill Dale). She will be at Black Sheep, so look for her. Everything was absolutely worth salivating over.

Dicentra Designs - ImprahilSince I had a craving for some bright colors after working on that hand-painted teal/red/purple roving on a base of black, I dove right in to this silk as soon as I finished navajo plying the other. This is tussah in colorway Imprahil. I split the roving in half lengthwise, and am finished with the first half already (in 24 hours!). I was wonderful watching all these gorgeous colors slide through my fingers.

Banana BeltThen I found someone selling the Banana Belt hand painted rovings … I’ve been wanting to make a trip to Sequim just to see her stuff since I saw someone spinning some of her rovings at the Norman Kennedy workshop in April. And lucky for me, there they were! It took me several trips to the booth before settling on these two. I wanted to take everything! I can’t remember what the names of the colorways were. I seem to recall the one on the right was something like Oregon Spring or something. The colors reminded her of rhodies in spring. The left has a lot of brashy neon greens in the midst of all that darker green and browns. So for the purposes of the rest of the blog, I’ll call them BB Green and BB Spring.

Anyway, I decided to split these down lengthwise because I wanted to keep the color progression intact. Then came the fun part … I sat down and started spinning them in different ways to see how they’d turn out.

Banana Belt Green - skeinsBanana Belt Green - knitted samplesSo here’s what they looked like spun up (left) and as knitted samples (right). From left to right, 2 ply, navajo ply – thick(er), navajo ply – thin(er), singles. It was very interesting how these colors played out. The 2 ply (sport weight)almost looks beaded, both in the skein and in the knitted fabric. And the end result looks much more spring-like. In the thicker of the 2 navajo ply (sport weight), the colors are much more intense. And with the shorter color transition, it stayed much truer to the original roving. The end result looks like late summer colors. The thinner navajo ply (fingering weight) resulted in a much softer, muted colors, similar to the single. Although it has a little more depth. The single looks a lot like Kureyon yarn, doesn’t it? Except it is fingering weight. And the singles definitely look fall-like.

Although I love Kureyon yarns, the single in this batch looks downright boring compared with the plied yarns. It lacked the depth of color that plying brought out. Current faves in this bunch are the thicker yarns, the thick navajo ply with the 2 ply coming in as a close second.

Interesting how you can get 3 different seasonal colors from one set of rovings, depending on how you spin and ply, isn’t it?

Banana Belt Spring - skeinsBanana Belt Spring - knitted samplesAnd here’s what the Spring colorway looks like. I didn’t do as many spun samples as I did with the green. Both of the samples are fingering weight, one 2 ply and one navajo ply. I think I like the 2 ply best in this bunch. The fine single in the navajo ply muted out the colors a little too much for my taste. The 2 ply looks like dappled sunlight in the woods with Oregon rhodies in bloom.

What do you think?

Felted Bag Update: The bag itself is done, but I’m struggling along with the strap. It’s 90 inches of double i-cord for the strap and I’m bored stiff. I-cord is difficult with unspun roving because you run the risk of pulling too tight and breaking the roving. So I can only do a few inches a day before I go bonkers. I’m at about 36″ … only 54″ left to go. Sigh. It really would have been faster to just use Brown Sheep, but I really wanted to try this. Anyway, I now know why most of the knitting with rovings projects (for felting) are on smaller scales. Sheer boredom factor.