I went to Little Barn over the weekend--that's always fun, but I especially went because I wanted to meet ~P~ of Spin, Knit, and Life--it's so cool to talk to someone on the internet and then get to meet them in person!
I considered taking my spinning wheel and joining the spinning bunch, but I had a ton of stuff I wanted to get done, and I just didn't think I could sit still with it all hanging over my head. I did get to pet some beautiful alpaca yarn that was an insanely good deal. As soon as I figure out what to make out of it, you can bet I'll be back and buy some.
As it is, I exercised admirable restraint (laugh if you want) and only bought three things: 8 oz. of BFL in natural white sheep color to go with the active singles I made from the Hoobody fiber way back here (needed and planned), a ball winder, and this hand-dyed roving.
It looked a lot darker and richer before I unfurled it, but I'm still very excited about it. Here's all I know about it: it's 100% wool, hand-dyed by Wild Thing exclusively for Little Barn. (Which type of wool is not specified.)
The ball winder was the most practical purchase--I will definitely need one for the dyeing operation. Unfortunately, it seems to have a manufacturing defect. When you put the clamp in place in its proper position, it ends up being up against the teeth of the cranking mechanism, preventing it from turning. So you have to choose between having it well clamped and but nonfunctional or having it insecurely clamped and still not very smooth. Needless to say, I'm returning it. For as much of a yarn nut as I am, I never actually saw one of these things in person before, so I had no idea how it even worked or was assembled until I got it home and read the directions. It's too bad, but I got something out of the experience anyway. For as much yarn as I intend to dye, I think I will probably be better off springing the extra bucks for a jumbo one. If I had bought a small one that worked, I would have kept it and then probably been wishing for a jumbo one within a few months, so in a way, this has saved me a step.
Also, I'm still playing with my version of long draw. I finished the rest of the merino from Asheville and moved on to some gorgeous purple carded roving that I bought way back at Useful Knowledge. Now I know why people recommend doing this technique with carded fiber--it sure does work a lot better!
I also decided it was time to graduate to the next ratio on my spinning wheel. The choices are 6:1, 12:1, and 14:1--watch that first step, it's a doozy. But I was noticing with the merino that unless I treadled like mad during the parts when the long-draw was actually working, I ended up making air yarn--poofy yarn-shaped fiber fluffs with way too little twist. They'd usually make it onto the bobbin but break during attempts at plying. So for this wool, I switched to 12:1, and that definitely helped. This yarn actually looks like I knew what I was doing!