For Valentine's Day, I made a corespun yarn with some cute little crochet hearts and a simple bulky single with the left over fiber. This photo is before I washed and set the twist so it's still a bit curly. The wool is a gorgeous Border Leicester roving that was generously provided by Solitude Wool for this project. They are located here in Loudoun County, Virginia and produce a variety of unique breed-specific yarn and fiber. I wanted to show off the amazing texture of this wool - its a soft and bouncy long-stapled fiber that has a fuzzy halo effect when spun around a core.
Here's how I made the corespun yarn with little hearts:
First, I blended the different shades of pink roving on my trusty Strauch Mad Batt'r drum carder to get some nice subtle contrast. I did this to add some color dimension to the yarn.
Remember to keep your hand clear of the licker in!
Next, I added a little some hot pink and red merino top for low lights. To add just a little bit of fiber at a time, you can feed the roving in slowly in a side to side motion while cranking the carder. This will give you just a bit of well blended color instead of big chunks.
When the drum was full, I slowly pulled the fiber from the drum using a knuckle saving batt pick.
Look at how fluffy and amazing this batt is!
It looks like cotton candy. You can see just a touch of the red coming through here.
To make the yarn, I used a commercial mohair/acrylic blend lace weight yarn for the core and some tiny crochet hearts that I made.
To core spin, attach the core yarn to the leader. Then start to allow some of the fiber from the batt to spin around the core. The key is to spin it at a 90 degree angle (perpendicular to the core). This fiber is so fluffy that I didn't have to do any pre-drafting. Treadle slowly and made sure to keep the yarn close to the orifice so you won't overspin it. I used my Majacraft Aura wheel with an Overdrive head set to a medium ratio (middle whorl) and tight tension to take the yarn in quickly. This is to pull the yarn quickly onto the bobbin and prevent overspinning. You'll have to adjust your own wheel until it feels right, but this is what works for me.
Once you have enough of a start, then it's time to add your add-ins. When I crocheted the tiny hearts, I left two three-four inch tails to use as anchors. To attach them, take one of the tails and lay it parallel to the core in front of the heart (closest to the wheel). Then start spinning over the core and tail with your fiber to anchor it down. The other tail will get anchored down past the heart (closest to you).
While holding the anchor yarn against the core, wrap the fiber around the core covering the the tail yarn and core yarn together and up to and then past the heart just a bit. Stop, then backtrack spinning before the heart and then go back past it again to make sure it is secure.
And there you have it! I just need to wash this and set the twist and then I can make any number of things with it. Maybe I'll make some more crocheted hearts stuffed with catnip for my feline Valentines.
To purchase the pink Border Leicester roving I used in this project, visit Solitude Wool.