As I've mentioned, I've been working my way through 15 lovely ounces of Blue-Faced Leicester (BFL) from Briar Rose. This fiber spins like a dream, and it has the gorgeous longwool luster that I adore. When I was in Ohio looking at fiber in the Briar Rose booth, I kept finding myself reaching for those lustrous bumps of wool, and every single time it was BFL; I feel the same way about some of the other longwools, there's just something about them that looks like silk. They are definitely not as soft as wools like Merino (nor as soft as silk, for that matter), and I think that if I were to try to spin them worsted, as my spinning preference lies, they wouldn't be as gorgeous as they could be. But this experiment of spinning this fiber woollen has worked out beautifully, I think. For non-spinners, it basically means that instead of getting a tighly-spun yarn with very little air in it (the kind of yarn that's perfect for socks), I ended up with a bouncy two-ply yarn with lots of air and loft in it. I am so glad that I didn't keep saving it "for best", because now I have five skeins of lovely yarn; I haven't counted just how much yardage I have exactly, but I think it's about 220 yards per skein, so, if I'm calculating correctly, that's a sweater's worth. Hooray!
Chris is truly an artist with color. I never cease to be blown away by the things she can do with dye; her colorways are so organic, every one of them tells me a story about something that I love. The colors in this wool remind me of the blues and browns and grays of Sierra granite, perhaps my favorite rock on earth, up to and including the big rounded river rocks that make me so happy. (Am I the only person who has a favorite rock? Maybe it has to do with all of my early childhood memories of playing on huge boulders in the mountains or in Yosemite, with that particular feel of decomposed granite and pine needles under my feet, and the smell of cold pine and campfire in the air, the way that smell changes as the sun begins to warm the trees and the rocks, the sound of a creek nearby, the rough stone under my hands when I climbed, and the give of the earth when I jumped off and landed... There's nothing like a good granite boulder.)
My woollen spinning still isn't even, which means that the resulting yarn isn't even, so I'm not sure how this will knit up. It seems to range between a heavy sport and a worsted weight yarn, and one skein (in spite of mixing up the bobbins as I plied) feels like it's a lighter yarn that the others, so I may have to mix that in as I knit to keep it from being too obvious.
You can see the changing weights there. Does anyone who is more experienced at knitting their handspun into sweaters have a sense of whether I'm in trouble here?
I am thinking that I have finally spun the yarn that I need to knit Cloisters, a sweater I saw in Spin-Off ages ago, and that I've been wanting to knit ever since. (There's a better picture of it here; it's the green sweater fifth from the left in the top row.) I think that the plain stockinette body will show off the colors nicely, and the lace pattern is simple enough not to be too obscured by the vagaries of handspun yarn. I also think it'll be a simple enough knit that it will be soothing during this busy time of the semester, and one of those really wearable sweaters, like a sweatshirt, but uniquely mine.
I will leave you with some granite to consider.