What kind of salad do you make?

I’ve had many people ask me why I spend time spinning (let alone knitting) yarn. In today’s world where you can go pick up finished sweaters for under $20, and socks for around $2 it doesn’t make sense to them.

I’ve settled on this explanation.

You have three kinds of people in this world

  1. people who go buy ready made salads
  2. people who buy the ingredients and cut them up for the salad
  3. people who lovingly tend their garden, agonizing over which seeds to plant, how to best fertilize them, spend hours in back-breaking labour pulling out weeds, chasing the squirrels and other scavengers away, then at the end of the day, can say that they have the pleasure of knowing where their food came from.

Although I’m a #1 and #2 from time to time, if I had a garden (which I don’t because I live in an apartment), I would firmly be in #3 category.

I only work with natural fibres these days (with a bit of nylon thrown in if I’m doing socks), and I like to know what kind of sheep it came from. Each sheep
has different qualities, and choosing the right wool for the project can make or break it. For example

  • superwash wool, while convenient for washing, can cause a heavy sweater to sag with wear. They burn off the scales during processing so that it won’t felt when washed. This lack of scales is what can make garments grow with wear.
  • non-treated wool can be opposite – I’ve lost track of how many felted socks I’ve accidently ended up with because they were hiding in the laundry unseen.
  • cotton can be heavy to wear and if you don’t use a blend, you may end up coming home in a tunic when you left the house in a midi (experience talking here)
  • silk is incredibly warm. Far too warm for summer socks, but wonderful for winter ones.
  • Cashmere is….cashmere ’nuff said.

So I pick each fibre with care. I don’t always have a finished product in mind when I’m spinning, but I always write down what the fibre is that I’ve spun. That way I can pick the right yarn for the right project.

I’m not sure what these will end up as, but for now, they’re being used as eye candy. Which is just fine with me.

Fibre: Merino/Silk/Firestar – Red Hawk Tail colourway
Source: Corgi Hill Farms
Final Yardage: 4.5oz=207 yards worsted
Spinning Technique: Worsted spun on Louet Victoria





Fibre: Rambouillet
Source: Violet Alpaca Farm
Final Yardage: 214 yards, laceweight
Spinning Technique: Woolen spun on 14g Hound Design spindle.

This was our Spindler’s Challenge for the month – Welcome to the Madhouse. I’m very happy
with the results but I have to learn to ply better on the spindle. My next attempt will be from two plying balls instead of toilet paper rolls. They just don’t have enough tension on them and I end up with knots and kinks during the plying. This one was really matted so I had to handcard it again and pull out the “weeds”. To me, the end result was absolutely worth the effort.




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One thought on “What kind of salad do you make?

  1. Eye candy, indeed!

    I like your analogy re: quality knits and quality salad. I found that once I hooked into what quality is (for me, it started with fibres), it translated to other parts of my life.
    And darn, if it kills me to have to buy a $12 pack of gym socks that I know will all be misshapen, baggy tubes with holes in the heels within a month.

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