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Aug 05

Default Yarn Challenge – Denise Renee Grace

a ball of mixed color yarn and a skein of green yarn rest on a table

Spinning is probably my favorite fiber art. That is a pretty big statement for me, as I love all of the fiber arts tremendously. Although spinning is free and flowing, it still gives me an avenue of utmost control. It is the best of both worlds!

Exploring everything from crazy textured yarn to 6-ply lace weight is just pure joy for me, but honestly, the structure of my default yarn is a little boring. I use a modified short forward draw when I just want to zone out. When everything is spun and plied, I end up with a fine fingering weight. Although the structure of the yarn isn’t that exciting, I use fibers that are exciting to offset (what I consider) the mundane nature of the yarn. I spin with color!

Anzula is one of my favorite dyers.  I use a lot of their dyed (and natural) roving. From the time I saw the braid of Tussah Silk and Merino blend in the Garden colorway, I knew I had to have it!  I split the braid in half and blissed out in my default spinning. I spun on my Sidekick, so I could spin during breaks at work and in front of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman at home. I plied it on my Ladybug with our Bulky Plyer Flyer, wound it, washed it, balled it, and stood back to admire the yarn cake.  With silk, even if the colors are vibrant in the braid, they mellow out quite a bit when spun.

The complex interplay of colors in hand-plyed yarn

Anzula roving (Garden, left) with “For Better or for Worsted” (Grace, right)

Using handspun in weaving can be daunting because it takes a lot of yarn and some is even wasted, so I often weave beautiful multi-colored handspun as weft with semi solid commercial yarn in the warp. I will pair the Garden roving with a springy “For Better or Worsted” yarn in the Grace colorway, also from Anzula. I am thinking chunky cowl, but I never really know until it is done.

Another thing that is a “default” for me in my spinning is the amount spun.  I spin A LOT.  So I thought I would share a lot of yarn.

Plyed hands-on yarn stretched out on a niddy noddy

Yarn conceived and spun by Denise

This is a three-ply fingering weight made of three different fibers; Organic Merino, Blue Faced Leicester, and Tussah Silk, all in the same “Earth” colorway, also from Anzula. For this yarn, I chose my Matchless, the luxury car of my fleet of wheels; the phrase “like buttah” really applies in this case. The silk in the three-ply gives it a little bit of shimmer and all the colors were so beautiful on the Niddy Noddy, I couldn’t take the skein off. I plan to pair this with a Cashmere Silk Merino commercial blend called “Dreamy” (the yarn lives up to its name) in a Teal colorway, again from Anzula.  Oh so yummy! I would like to weave some sort of shirt, shell, or vest with this, but the creative process always surprises me.

Denise’s yarn (on Niddy Noddy) with Anuzla “Dreamy” (Teal, front)

To find Anzula roving and yarn, preferably check out your local yarn shop, or you can shop online.  If your yarn shop doesn’t carry roving, they can order several different blends in colorways Earth, Fire, Ocean, Garden, and Forest. They try to visit almost all of their dealers once a year, so chances are, there could be a trunk show near you!

A spool of variegated color hands-on yarn and a skein of dark green yarn