The ugliest yarn I've ever loved


For my birthday, among other things, my mother got me a gift certificate to Chameleon Colorworks. I combined it with a store credit I earned from some Spindlicity designs and decided to get the Luxury Fiber of the Month.

Janel was gracious enough to give me some advice before starting. The fiber would need to be spun into a yarn with a lot of twist, using the long draw method, and the finished yarn would need to be plied. Twist and ply are not a problem. I have lots of teeny tiny whorls and I always ply my yarn, but this long draw thing would require some practice.

I worked the last bobbin of my heather yarn using the long draw method. With careful pre-drafting and a little patience, I got the technique down fairly well. I won't be writing any books on the method, but I think I was able to make a passable yarn with the technique.

My first sample was Gray Yak. This stuff is SOFT. My long draw method, though, sucked yak knobs, when I tried it with this fiber. Pre-drafting seemed necessary, but hard to do because of the very short staple length and my inability to get a nicely pre-drafted fiber resulted in lots of thick and thin spots.

The finished fiber is just about 100 yards of some of the ugliest most "designery" yarn I've spun since I started spinning. The yarn itself averages around 10 WPI.

But, my god, even where it's overspun, this fiber is soft unlike anything I've ever spun before. If I were a yak, I'd touch myself all day. Wait, I didn't mean that to sound as dirty as it did. While I wouldn't consider this first luxury yarn a screaming success, I'm still excited to get my next fiber and try to improve on the method.

I'd actually really like to try spinning some of these fibers with a supported spindle of some sort. I feel like I'd be able to hone the technique better, but for now, that's just not in the budget.

If anyone else would like to offer any advice for next month, I always appreciate it, just comment away.


that's pretty dang good for a first time at spinning a down fiber! To finish off your skein you should wash/rinse in warm water then whack the heck out of it by whapping it against the edge of a table or a fence post or something. You want to really beat it up. You will be amazed at how it just blooms into a heavenly yarn!

My best advice for dealing with the long draw and down fibers is to remember to hold the fiber like it's a baby bird. You don't want to choke down on the drafting triangle or you will get lumps. If it's drafting unevenly, you can finger tease the cloud until it's more airy. Alternatively you can squish the cloud until it's all the same density. Both methods work and yield slightly different yarns. Wait 'til you see next month's fiber!! mmmmmmm...

Eh, Janel's been giving me that baby bird line for ages. ;-) It totally works.

And I wasn't aware that yak had knobs. Oh, wait... are those the...? ew...

Make sure you post photos after you've taken the yak out back and disciplined it. If you have any trouble wacking that yak into submission, I have some relatives in NJ who can help.

I was going to suggest a supported spindle, but I see you already know about those!

I'll have to try that baby bird advice with llama down...I spun mine evenly, but it did not retain the softness as much as I'd hoped. Boo :-(

I'll have to try that baby bird advice with llama down...I spun mine evenly, but it did not retain the softness as much as I'd hoped. Boo :-(

I think that skein is wonderful, and I love all of Janel's fibers and colorways. Someone is going to have to show me the long draw next time she visits!

xox, J

I'm so bad at the long-draw thing, but I really do need to try it again . . . every few months (alright, really, once or twice a year) I'll give it a try, but it just doesn't quite want to click . . . your yak does look just fine, though!

"If I were a yak, I'd touch myself all day."

I just woke my husband up laughing at that mental picture.

I was going to say that you made me laugh with the remark about being a yak; but, janel and roxie slayed me.

Hey, nice spinning. Thought you might like to know that the button/link to CAL on the left sidebar has the wrong url.

i actually spun up some bison that was cut 50/50 with some domestic brown wool. it wasn't that hard to spin, but the guard hairs that they didn't bother removing kept tickling me! i finally picked out the worst ones, and sent it on to the friend who gave me the privilege of spinning it.

I like to think I can just continue to spin vicariously through you and other spinbloggers. We'll see if I can keep resisting.

I just saw the Stitch Diva preview - Ms MacLean, I can't wait to see more! Gorgeous!

I had no idea Yaks had knobs;) The yarn is just beautiful!

Uh, thanks for putting funny/scary images of yaks touching themselves with the Divinyls song playing in the background. ;) I wouldn't think that yak yarn (again, just doesn't sound very palatable) would be so soft- good to know!

Share this page

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on February 27, 2007 5:53 AM.

Casting on Lily was the previous entry in this blog.

A little more Lily and some wonky nupps is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

August 2016

  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

Find Me Here

  • rss
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • flickr
  • goodreads
  • google
  • linkedin
  • pinterest
  • ravelry
  • youtube

Featured Patterns