The right tool for the right job

One of my spindles has long been a mystery to me. It's beautiful, but I just couldn't figure out what it wanted to spin. It's not a long spinner, nor a particularly fast one. Everything I tried to spin with it sort of fell flat.

It's about the same weight as my other medium-light all-purpose spindles - ones with which I can easily spin between lace and dk weight. This spindle didn't want to spin thick yarn - I was constantly fighting backspin. So, I tried it with finer yarns... It didn't want to spin sock yarn - it just couldn't put enough twist into them.

And then, out of serendipity, I found the kind of yarn that this spindle was made to spin. Singles!

Soft-spun singles handspun Shetland yarns
It spins singles so beautifully and easily it's like the fiber is spinning itself. If I tried to spin these on my Golding, it would be so easy to overtwist them and turn them into a coiled mess.

I haven't actually spun many singles yarns before - I prefer the look and wear of plied yarns. But, there was a neat discussion in the Spinner's Study group, so I decided to try it out. And, a realization dawned on me... Singles yarns are half the spinning of plied yarns! (Duh, right? I never said I was perceptive.)

Then I found a pattern for a beautiful shawl - Dreambird. For the feathers I had some Rico Poems yarn in my stash which would do perfectly, but I couldn't find any yarn suitable for the body of the shawl. I do, however, have pounds of fiber in my stash just waiting to be spun...

With a newfound passion for single-ply yarns, I started testing. I sampled 4 different fibers that I thought might be suitable for the shawl, and the winner was clear - the fawn-colored fiber at the top of the swatch spun into an almost perfect match for Poems (the yellow yarn).
Spinning sample swatching - trying to find a handspun match for Rico Superba Poems sock yarn

I have been waiting for the right project to come along for this fiber - it is called Haunui, and I got it from Wingham some time ago. It is an absolute pleasure to spin and I love the pale heathered fawn color of it.

New Zealand Haunui flock Romney and NZ Halfbred roving being spindle-spun into yarn

The roving (true carded roving, as opposed to combed top) is a blend of Romney and NZ Halfbred (a breed developed from crossing merinos with a longwool). The fiber is next-to-the-skin soft (to me) and has a nice bit of a sheen. I absolutely love it - and I'm so happy to have found the perfect pattern and the perfect tool to spin it up.



  1. That's great that you finally figured it out =D The shawl is really pretty! I hope you post pictures of the finished product!

    1. I definitely will! I haven't cast on yet, but I'll definitely show it off once it's finished. It's such a neat pattern.