Cross-patch, draw the latch

I’ve always liked the jaunty little nursery rhyme:

Cross-patch, draw the latch
Sit by the fire and spin.
Take a cup and drink it up,
And call the neighbors in.

Two or three weeks ago, I found that I was feeling rather like that cross-patch.  You know how it is; unhappy events seem to come in clusters.   So I took a bit of the cure and did a little spinning to soothe my ragged psyche.

Having a couple of hours alone in the quiet house, I oiled my spinning wheel and dug out one bag of the raw alpaca fleece I wanted to start with.  (Can it really have been nearly two years ago that I bought it?!?)  This color is called ‘rose-grey’, and is one of several colors that I’m planning to use for a pair of gloves.

The fleece is very clean and free of vegetable matter didn’t need a wash  – I just pulled some out of the bag, teased the locks a bit, and spun it tip-end first into a semi-worsted fine singles.  It was truly a joy and comfort to watch the yarn form out of the handfuls of fluff,  almost as if it was happening without my intervention… such is the ancient, everyday magic of spinning.

Rose grey alpaca on the bobbin

After one trip across the bobbin, I made myself a cup of tea and contemplated the alpaca.  I had known the minute I saw all those colors that I’d have to get some of each, and some elegant stranded or Fair Isle gloves seemed to be just the project to make the most of this lovely fiber.  Time now for some test-plying to see if the yarn I’d been spinning would fit the project… so I pulled a yard or so off the bobbin, folded it over twice, and let it twist into a three-ply.

I was delighted!  It’s fine and strong, and has just a little halo – and the color is a beautiful mid-range, warm grey.  I had to see what a little wash would do to the three-ply, so I pulled off more of the singles and let another length twist around itself.  After washing, that few inches of yarn really doesn’t look any different from the first bit, which is just fine – I think I’m on my way!  And look, I even got myself organized enough to do a sample card so the next time I sit down to spin, I’ll have a target to try to match.

Samples all neatly taped to an index card for reference

Oh, and the ‘cup’ prescribed in the nursery rhyme?  Earl Grey tea, of course!  And if I didn’t call the neighbors in, at least I was restored to my usual equilibrium, and fit for human company again by the time my family returned home.

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