You may recall when I shared this photo a few weeks ago:
From top to bottom: 1/2 lb Optim 100% Merino Top, 1/2 lb Wool/Linen 60/40 Top, 2 oz 100% Cashmere, 1/2 lb Dyed Merino Top in Tawny Gold, 1/2 lb Super Fine Flax Top, 1 lb Grey Gotland Sliver & 1/2 lb Dark Coopworth.
Since then, I've spun through about half of the fiber at this point (1.5 lbs, to be exact), and I can honestly say that I've enjoyed each selection so far. I started with a really easy-spinning fiber, the Dark Coopworth (below, middle). It was very light, lofty and a total breeze to work with. My next pick was the wool/linen top (below, right), which I was very curious about and figured it was a good stepping stone to the fiber I was most intimidated by (the super fine flax top). As I'd hoped, it was a rather wool-like spinning experience, but the resulting skein definitely feels more like a linen yarn in terms of hand...the best of both worlds!
Right before the TdF closed, I decided I should give that 100% flax top a try. I was more than a little intimidated, as everything I have read about spinning flax has always made it sound quite complicated. The bonus of using a prepared top is that the process is simplified quite a bit right off the bat. My spinning guru Lauren recommended that I keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip my fingers into while I draft, and also that I introduce a slight twisting motion into the draft as I work.
This was (not surprisingly) pretty good advice, and so far it's been working for me. It's much slower going for me since I am still getting my sea legs; I can't tell you how many times the working single has simply flown out of my hand before I could do anything to stop it, which is a real talent considering how long the fiber length is for flax! But once I get going again and find my rhythm, it's kind of exciting to see everything take shape. As you can see in the photo below, I still have quite a ways to go with this project, but that's ok with me. I never thought I would be able to spin flax, and truthfully, I probably wouldn't have stepped outside of my comfort zone to give it a try if some hadn't found its way into my house via this pack.
I have big plans for the fibers which are left over: the Grey Gotland is earmarked for my Insane Handspun Sweater project, and I can't stop thinking about blending the Optim Merino (which is SO silky) with the light brown cashmere. The only thing that is stopping me is that the blending board I want is currently on backorder - but once I get it in my hot little hands, I am fairly certain that I will be making some lovely rolags with these two fibers.
If your fiber stash is looking depleted after a productive Tour de Fleece, or if you're just prone to enabling, you should probably snag yourself a July Spinzilla Fiber pack for just $75 while you still can!