Monday, February 9, 2009

Possum, Mohair and Wool Shawl

New Zealand is a place I get to go fairly frequently since my husband and children are citizens. The last time we went, we spent some time with friends in Te Puke (pronounced tea pooh key) and I found a small carding company called Rainbow Carding. This lovely couple lived on what New Zealanders call a ‘Life Style Block’, which is a nice way of saying a hobby farm and were doing some really interesting blending. I purchased a huge bag of roving in a colour called Black Tulip. This photo shows the colour perfectly!
This roving is a really deep royal purple and as the tag shows, it’s a blend of Possum, Wool and Mohair. Yup, I really did buy 900 grams! Consequently I have been spinning this lot forever it seems. At the time I purchased the roving the Canadian dollar was worth $1.45 New Zealand, so this worked out to be around $43.00. The possum gives amazing warmth as well as softness, the mohair gives it shine and strength and the wool makes everything else behave.

I spun the roving using the semi worsted method to minimize any eventual pilling and produced a fine 2 ply yarn. It feels very heavy for it's size due to the amount of mohair in the mix.
Wanting to do a fun, quick project using my handspun I decided to make a shawl, but the Black Tulip was pretty but would be unremarkable by itself. After a wander through my stash I came upon a 1/30 magenta silk. It was far too fine to use as a singles, so I plied it fairly loosely to make it thicker.
I also found this interesting mohair novelty yarn, in a silimar tone to the Black Tulip. The mohair is spun around a silk knot core yarn, the core yarn has lots of colour pop.
Now that I have my yarn choices the project seemed to fall into place. A plain weave set at 10 epi would make the shawl light and airy. I alternated the silk and mohair in the warp, one shot every 10 warp threads and I would repeat this in the weft for a window pane effect. I sleyed one warp thread per dent in a 10 dent reed, but since the mohair novelty has a larger grist than the rest of the warp I left an empty dent on each side of it. The colour is a bit washed out here and my venetian blind is leaving sun stripes, but you get the idea.
I put on 4 yards of warp ‘cause I like my shawls to be long enough to wrap around and toss over your shoulder and have 27 inches for width. I am using a ski shuttle for the wool because I wanted to have it slide through the web and this seems to work better for me than a stick shuttle. I am carrying the silk yarn up the sides and have a silk floating selvedge, but I'm not carrying the mohair up the edge because it would make everything too hairy. I have no idea how this yarn will behave during the fulling process, I did preshrink it after spinning, so hopefully the take up and shrinkage will be minimal.


Anonymous said...

The handspun you made is a great color. And the windowpane is the perfect pattern.

Life Looms Large said...

That shawl is so beautiful. I wish there was a way to reach out and touch it!!

Color me green with envy that you get to go to New Zealand frequently!! A co-worker once gave me a New Zealand travel guide - because she said I was the person she knew who was most likely to go there. But I still haven't made it!

First, I couldn't believe I was reading about yarn made from possum fur....then I found that there are 20 possums per person in New Zealand. That's a lot of marsupials!

Your shawl is just beautiful. Can't wait to see more of it. (No pressure!!!)


Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

I can't wait to see how this comes out!!! What a beautiful shawl this is going to make;)

bspinner said...

Beautiful handspun yarn woven into a wonderful shawl. Can't wait to see it off the loom.

Bruce said...

Very nice Lynnette! Your shawl looks sooo warm right there on the loom. The fleece you brought back from New Zealand is a beautiful colour and the mix you created has turned out well. I hope to get to see it one day.

Susan said...

I absolutely love the black tulip colour! Your choices for companion yarns are spot on too.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this off loom... and maybe in person later this year?

New Zealand must be one of the most beautiful places on Earth... and I'm so happy that I had those 5 years there in Dunedin.

I would love to go back but for now I travel there by Google Earth and revisit while in my arm chair.
Not as good as being there...


Anonymous said...

Oh Lynnette, how gorgeous! The Black Tulip color is just scrumptious. Your choices for companion yarns are spot on -- I can't wait to see it off of the loom.

Loved your post on "warping Jane" -- how exciting that you've got her put to work.

Weave on!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think that is gorgeous!

Unknown said...

nice stuff!!Shawls and Scarves