I finished the other sleeve of the never-ending sweater and blocked it, and it was finally dry about a week ago. It would have been dry much sooner, but the washer that came with my house sprays water during the spin cycle, so it's not so good for spinning water out of woollies. But I got the seller to include the washer and dryer when they weren't originally included as part of the sale so I didn't have to go out and buy them, so I figured, good deal, you know? It just means stuff takes longer to dry. I can live with that.
Anyway, I've been wearing the sweater all this week. I love it! Not only does it look great, but it's warm! The only sweaters I've had that were warmer were too warm, so warm I couldn't wear them (you try wearing a 4 lb sweater), but this is perfect! Usually I'm freezing, even when other people are warm. I'm apparently just colder than other people (yes, I've had my thyroid tested, and it's normal). But with this sweater on, I'm comfortable! Even when I'm outside, usually my whole body is cold, but with this sweater, because my core is finally warm enough, my extremities are actually warm enough too. This is totally new for me. I'm used to my hands and feet freezing.
I went to a workshop Wednesday morning and during the break some other people at my table remarked how chilly it was in the room. I hadn't noticed! I was comfortable in my nice warm sweater!
It's great! The difference between this and my other sweaters is this one is 50% wool, 50% alpaca. I'm so happy I could kiss an alpaca!
I'll definitely be using this yarn again. I've got some of it for sale in the shop in other colorways, in 4 oz and 8 oz skeins, and I'll be dyeing more. I want to get some alpaca fiber for spinning. I wanted to get an alpaca/wool blend, like the yarn, because if I spin 100% alpaca to the thickness I usually spin, it will probably be too warm for a sweater, but I can't find a blend from my usual sources. One has pure alpaca though.
One thing I've done when I wanted to blend colors was to hold two different predrafted wool tops together side by side, and let the fiber be drawn in from one or the other or both as if it were just one, not two. The result was a nice heathery blend.
This is eventually going to become part of a pillow for my red sofa along with some other yarn I haven't spun yet. So many plans, so little time…
I think the same thing would work nicely with two tops of different fibers as long the fiber length was roughly the same. Actually, come to think of it, this blend was with two different fibers. They were dyed with the same colors, but the lighter one was blue faced leicester, originally natural white. The darker was a Romney-Perendale blend, originally light gray.
I'd like to start offering alpaca top for sale in my shop, but because it costs quite a bit more than wool (I would probably need to sell undyed fiber for around $39.00/lb), I need to know if there are some of you out there who are going to buy it. Hopefully at least some of you soon after I put it up for sale to help me pay for my order. Are you more interested in undyed natural colors (fawn, silver) or in hand-dyed top? Please give me feedback!
While we're on the topic of animal fiber, are you curious about the fiber growing on my head and how it's doing with no shampoo? (Well, I had to segué somehow.) Wow! It's curlier than it's ever been in my life! It turns out that everything I've been told my whole life about how to take care of my hair has been all wrong. That was how to take care of straight hair, not how to take care of curly hair. So I was taking most of the curl out of my hair.
I had figured out some things on my own gradually over time. I figured out years ago that I should never use a brush, only a wide tooth comb. I figured out a year or two ago that that whole wrapping the towel around the head like a turban thing was one of the worst things I could do for my hair. My hair was curliest when it dried from a very wet state. Why would I want to suck as much water as possible out of it before combing it? When I did that, it ended up very straight, especially in winter. So I started just toweling it dry enough so it wasn't dripping all over.
After I stopped using shampoo though, it kind of revolutionized my thinking, and I thought, well, what else have I been doing all these years that I don't need to do? And I realized, duh. If my hair was curliest when it dried from a very wet state, why would I want to towel it dry at all? So I started combing it when it was sopping wet. Easier to comb, and it dried even curlier.
Then a few mornings ago I thought, hmm, the hair is curliest toward the bottom of my head. Is it just genetically programmed to be curliest there, or is it curliest there because gravity is its friend instead of its enemy? The hair there gets to hang down and free and dry like a corkscrew. The hair on the top of my head dries plastered to the top of my head. It's not till it gets over the sides that it can hang down and free. So I decided to help the hairs on the top of my head by making the top of my head the bottom of my head. I flipped my head over! I let my hair hang there for a minute while I loosened the hair from my head, shook it around a bit, flipped my head back up, and looked in the mirror.
Wow. My hair had six times the volume it had before. Curls all over, even at the roots, and it dried like that. I'm blown away. It's a bit frizzy, so I think I need to get some kind of conditioner for it, but now I know it can't be just any conditioner. It has to be a conditioner without any silicones (any ingredients ending in -cone, -conol, -xane, and most ending in -one).
And the freaky cool thing? Not only does my hair look a lot better, it actually keeps my head warmer! I mean, that's why we have hair on our heads, I imagine, and before, my hair didn't do a very good job of that. But now since it has more volume, i.e., more space between the individual hairs, i.e., more air between the individual fibers, it's a better insulator!
And yeah, you guys probably want a picture. I tried taking a picture of myself, but it seems to be National Riin Has a Really Dorky Expression on her Face Day. No one told me. But then I realized, hey, you don't really need a picture of my face, so here, have picture of the back of my head.
Yeah, the lighting is bad and it's a weird angle, but what do you want for an over the shoulder shot in my bathroom mirror? Just look how curly my hair is though! I keep being amazed by it myself!