Northern Lights All Day

While I was up to my ears in carded Corridale and the wonder of a wheel, my wonderful aunt—the same aunt who showed me the SpinOff magazine—sent me a package of fiber. And not just any fiber. Four lovely ounces of Northern Lights in the “Violets” colorway. I was supposed to spin them up for her to use in a knitting project. The fiber drafted beautifully! It was so nice to have the thin strip to work from instead of the big chunks that I would pull off from the sliver or top. And the colors! Excuse me while I go gaze at them again. The camera did not do them justice.

Spun Northern Lights

Spun Northern Lights

The funnest part was watching the color tone change from roving to single to finished yarn. This is what the actual fiber looked like.

Violets Roving

Violets Roving

I spun the four ounces up, and they weren’t enough. The pattern called for 450 yards, and the four ounces had made only 296 yards. The quickest solution? Buy more roving! But wait, the shop my aunt had bought it from (in one-ounce packages) was out of the Violets color. My solution? Order online! And yet another hitch. I could only find it in eight-ounce bags. Thankfully, we figured out a way to make it work, and I ordered the eight ounces, eight ounces of another colorway, and eight ounces of some nice, heathered Corridale. I ended up ordering from Copper Moose, in Vermont, because they had the best price on the eight-ounce bags.

Roving and Yarn

Roving and Yarn


Here is the mountain of Violets roving with the four ounces of spun yarn. You can see the color difference even better in this picture. I love to watch the fiber twist onto the bobbin and change from a bright, almost gaudy color mix to the rich, deep tones. I navajo plied it for two reasons. First, I still don’t have a lazy kate, so I don’t have many options for holding more than one bobbin of singles, unless I can recruit some innocent bystander. Second, the Navajo style helps keep the colors together so you get crisper color changes in the yarn. If you spin a three ply with one green, one blue, and one purple, it’ll muddy the colors up. It’s still a nice look, but I didn’t want that for this yarn. Navajo plying is rather like the chain stitch in crocheting. You have the single looping through and doubling back on itself as it twists together.

And the other colorway from Northern Lights I got is a much darker mix of rich greens, browns, and golds. Very foresty. I’ve been spinning it for the past few days, on and off. (Yes, things have intruded into my spinning time. Namely work.) Here it is spun as a single.

Spun Single

Spun Single

The heathered Corridale that I got is for the express use of my aunt. I’m going to teach her how to spin on the drop spindle (I wonder if “drop spindle” can be used for the verb as well) and it’s nice stuff to learn with. A very smooth draft, but a good staple length. Staple refers to how long the individual hairs are, and therefore dictates how much you have to overlap the hairs. If the staple length is only an inch long you don’t have much wiggle room.

Mountain Meadow Roving

Mountain Meadow Roving


Isn’t it pretty? I’m curious to see how it spins up. The colors are such an interesting combination . . . maybe a light teal . . . or a speckled white . . . (Yes, I’m having a hard time leaving it alone, why do you ask?)

2 Responses to Northern Lights All Day
  1. Deborah
    September 12, 2008 | 2:16 am

    Thank you, sweet niece! It is beautiful and you are gaining an amazing amount of spinning knowledge in a short time, good for you!

  2. Nimelen
    September 12, 2008 | 2:03 pm

    I love that Northern Lights yarn you spun. The color combination is pretty. :o )

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