Recently, I bought some lovely vegetable dyed Finn sheep yarn from Leena Riihelä in Finland; her company is Riihivilla. She blogs and writes in both Finnish and English. Her service, communication, packaging, colors and yarns are fabulous! She also designs mittens and other items, and sells complete kits with enough yarn to complete the project.
I chose her purple colorway, dyed with cochineal and Japanese indigo, which consists of three skeins in three colors. Two of the colors are solid, a rather deep wine rather than violet, and they are different in shade so that when knitted, there will be definite color contrasts. The third skein is multicolor, and ranges in violets to the reds of the solid skeins. Together, the three are very attractive and coordinate well. My plan for them is to make socks, but I want something that will help set the colors up to be seen and appreciated. Because these colors are so beautiful and the yarn is so nice, they definitely need something special to show them off!
My first inclination was to pull out some white sock yarn close to the Finn in weight, but the white was a very bright white, and rather harsh a contrast as far as I was concerned. I thought maybe black, but that was too grim. Other considerations were a warm cream color or a heathery grey, such as found in natural sheep wool colors. As I’ve been spinning for years, I rummaged through my handspun stash, singles and plied, and came across a large ball of 2-ply in a light grey.
The ball I’d wound the yarn into was falling apart, so I decided to rewind it into new, tidy balls. This is when I realized that the yarn as it was would not work. For a while, I was into making very fine, very softly spun yarn, to ply together with the goal of cobweb or lace weight yarn, and this yarn is representative of that time period. Rewinding it into new balls brought out the fact the yarn was weak – the spin too soft – and it would break apart – really, just slide apart – as I was rewinding it.
Given the time it takes to spin up yarn, I decided to recycle it by plying it into a 4-ply with a tighter twist, and a lot of knots. I can always weave in ends where I untie the knots. The result is a very twisty, fine 4-ply which is about the same width as the Finn. As I write this, the final skein (185 yds) is soaking in warm water with hair rinse before it is hung to dry and set the new twist.
Meantime, as the grey yarn dries, I plan to design a sock which will show off each of the three colors in a stripey way, with a pattern of some variety in there using the grey yarn.