Saturday, 30 August 2014

Spinning a Cloud: Malabrigo's Nube

I was very excited about spinning Malabrigo's Nube when I had the chance. The name itself, meaning cloud,  promises luscious softness, and the available colourways are stunning. I chose the colourway Whale's Road that is a combination of blues and purple. Nube consists of 100% merino, which is generally a wonderfully soft wool. I have a special love for this wool because that is what I first learned to spin with even though, as I found out much later, it isn't meant to be the easiest to start out with.

As I unwound the braid, the colours popped even more than before. They are the best part of Nube, in my opinion: the colours are beautiful.  I spent a lot of time admiring it before setting up my spinning wheel and prepping the fibre. I split it lengthwise which revealed lighter fibre on the inside where the dye hadn't penetrated. I am not entirely keen on that, to be honest, as I was expecting thoroughly dyed fibre throughout. On seeing the pale interior, I knew the spun fibre would end up lighter than I had expected.
Pulling out the first bit of fibre, I found it hard to do without considerably loosening it beforehand. Merino generally becomes quite compact if stored for too long and I wonder if this is the reason. I also  knew even before I began that spinning it would not be as easy an experience as I had thought. Now, if you have handcarders or a drumcarder, you can easily prepare the fibre to make spinning easier. I have neither and had a bit of a tough time.
I decided to spin from the fold and navajo-ply the singles in order to have DK yarn from which to make a hat for autumn and winter. This is one of my rare attempts at making a yarn thicker than lace or 4-ply. That's very hard to do if you are used to spinning ever finer yarns! The plying makes the yarn three times as thick as my singles and I am happy with how it has turned out.
The n-ply retains the colour changes, which I like in yarn. As always, I prefer the look of singles, but plied yarn is much more hard-wearing, which I need when knitting most things. I also like the way the different shades of the single come together in most of the yarn. The plying is a bit tighter than I normally spin it, so that is a good improvement.
Ultimately, I would say that Nube has a beautiful range of colours that results in equally beautiful yarn. If you buy it, make sure the fibre isn't compact so that you won't struggle to work with it. Any yarn spun from it will be soft and smooshy and feel great against skin. My finished yarn is just so very soft and I love it! I can't wait to knit it up and see what it looks like when finished.

2 comments:

  1. Nadia, It is absolutely stunning. I love spinning Nube too. I'm glad to hear that I wasn't the only one with the 'compacted' problem. I fixed it by doing centre pulled pre drafted balls. It spun up really well after that.

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  2. That is a good tip, thank you! I never make predrafted balls, but in this case it really makes a lot of sense. I should try that next time.

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