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.