In the meantime, I have two reader questions. Maybe you will have some ideas in addition to those that I thought of. Elizabeth asks
I’m a new spinner (got my wheel in November) and I just dyed up some Wensleydale roving (pics on my blog). It’s SOOO pretty and shiny and I want to knit a lace shawl out of it but almost everything I’ve read says that Wensleydale is best used for outer wear, weaving, even rugs! Is it possible, do you think, to spin Wensleydale smooth enough to where it isn’t prickly? I sampled a little on my spindle and yes, it has a halo much like mohair. I’m going to try spinning it from the fold on a low ratio and see if that produces a less hairy yarn. Would you have any other suggestions to offer?
I am stumped for other suggestions, and wonder if there's really anything one can do to fight against the essential nature of Wensleydale, which is to have relatively long fibers. Any of you more experienced spinners out there want to take a crack at it?
I found out that a good friend is pregnant, after years of hoping, and with twins! Having just seen a fellow knitter complete Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket, I am encouraged to think I can do that, twice, but I'm not sure what yarn to use. I want it to be soft (for the babies as well as for me as I knit) but sturdy (so they last a little while), and machine wash and dry (for the sake of the parents), and not too expensive for the sake of the budget. What would you recommend?
I tried to email you personally, CCR, but for some reason the email got bounced. I think that the hardest part is finding a yarn that can be machine dried. A lot of yarns are superwash but not a lot of yarn manufacturers recommend machine drying. The only two possibilities I can think of (and please, for the love of God, don't mention R** H***t -- I think it's way scratchy for babies and will make them sweat) are (1) Plymouth Encore, which is 75% acrylic/25% wool, comes in lots of colors, is reasonably priced (between five and six bucks for a 200-yd skein) and is sold a lot of place, including my beloved Rosie's. and (2) Gems Merino, which is the only other yarn I can think of that specifically says you can machine dry it. Gems is 100% merino wool, comes in fingering weight and a dk-weight, pretty colors, and is also around $6 for a skein, at least for the fingering weight. (Also available at Rosie's.) Both of these are soft enough for babies and relatively easy care.
Any other suggestions?