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Some Things Take Time

I've been in a recent period of yo-yo crafting. By that, I mean I move forward on something, only to discover I need to move backward to move forward again. While this is part of knitting, some days I'd like success to stick!

To that end, I am creeping up on completion of a very long spinning project.

This project goes all the way back to my first spinning fleece purchase at the Knit and Crochet Fall Show September 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. I made the mistake(?) of touching a particularly soft black alpaca fleece. In autumn of 2020, I decided this fleece had aged long enough in stash. It was time to spin it.

The slowness in getting around to spinning this fleece came from multiple directions. Partly, the fleece was "precious." I wanted to do it justice. Part of it was the material. Spinning alpaca is not the same as spinning wool. I've had a surprisingly difficult time finding resources about how to spin alpaca. Even PLY Magazine, my first-choice source, has not yet had an alpaca issue — it is coming up this fall. It took time to figure out what combination of preparation and spin would work.

Eventually, I settled on rolags paired with a woolen draft. I made light and fluffy rolags by carding with  regular hand cards and rolling the fiber off around an aluminum straight knitting needle. I rolled off the long end so the parallel fibers would spiral around the tube of the rolag. When I spun, I spun off the end of the rolag, thus perpendicular to the direction of the spiral of fiber. All this was to meet the challenge of getting this slippery fiber to stick to itself without spinning it into a dense rope. I want alpaca yarn not alpaca string.

This project also had the challenge that other spinning intervened.

I endured, making rolags and spinning them, until this winter when I finally could begin to ply. I ordered a second Akerworks plying bobbin. I figured with four regular Akerworks bobbins and then two plying bobbins, I was set.

The problem was while the bobbins sat around, moths discovered them.

I happily began to ply. Then I discovered a break. Since my spinning was not even on this project — I was still learning — I didn't think much of the break and worked through it. But I soon encountered more. Eventually, I had to wind off all of one of the older bobbins onto assorted bits of whatever I could find. There were many, many breaks where the moths had enjoyed their meal. My moth wars shall continue.

Again, I persevered.

A few days ago, I completed one of the two plying bobbins.

This means I'm halfway through plying. Still, that's pretty good. And it was the shorter bits I've already plied together. I am hoping plying the second half of the spin will go smoothly.

I'm thinking of weaving this yarn rather than knitting it, but we'll see what happens. I had envisioned pajamas, but I don't think there is enough fiber. There might be enough for a nightshirt. The fiber is so warm and soft I want the final project to be something up against as much of my body as possible.

At a North Georgia Knitting Guild meeting recently, someone was teasing another member for how long she had taken to complete a project. Rather, I find it admirable to have continued. Some things just aren't fast, especially when you are learning. It is easier to give up than keep going when the encouraging thrill of progress is faint. Each day, just a few more stitches, or a few more yards of yarn, will someday become a finished object.