A few weeks ago I was contacted by the folks over at Stitchcraft Marketing to see if I would be interested in doing some product reviews for them. Of course I said yes!
Less than a week later, I received a generous box of fiber from the folks at Louet. They sent me their Spinzilla July 2015 box (there are a few left here) filled to the brim with different types of fiber for me to try. The idea is simple: Louet puts together big boxes of fiber and hopes that spinners will purchase and then spin them during Spinzilla, TNNA’s spinning event held in October.
The July 2015 box included the following:
- 1 lb of Grey Gotland Sliver
- 1/2 lb Optim Top
- 1/2 lb Dark Coopworth
- 1/2 lb of Super Fine Flax Top
- 1/2 lb of Wool/Flax Top
- 1/2 of Dyed Merino Top
- 2oz of Brown Cashmere Top
The box retails for $75.00 and the website states:
Start stocking up on fiber to prepare for Spinzilla 2015! These fiber packs are great deals – up to 50% off regular retail prices. (Regular retail of these products is $196.50.)
I will admit that I didn’t go and check out what the box contained before it arrived at my house, so when it got there I was overwhelmed with more than 3.5 pounds of fiber to spin!
I quickly decided that the best way to go would be to sample a bit of each fiber. I’m listing the fibers below in the order I spun them, with some pictures and general impressions.
I decided to start with the Dark Coopworth because it was such a lovely chocolate brown. Coopworth is a coarser, more rustic wool, though this wasn’t super rough. I’m not sure it would be for next to the skin wear, but it would make a lovely, warm sweater. I found the Dark Coopworth relatively easy to spin, with only a bit of vegetable matter left in. I ended up spinning a bit over an ounce and got about 70 yards of a 2-ply sport/DK weight.
2. Wool/Flax Top (60% Wool/40% Flax)
For my second spin, I decided to try a new to me fiber, the Wool/Flax top. This blend was interesting – I could definitely feel the difference between the softer wool and the coarser flax. I wasn’t entirely sure how to spin this blend, and in retrospect I think I overspun it a bit (it feels closer to twine than I would like!). I did love the tan/golden color and I think a wool/linen blend would be excellent for warmer weather wear. I ended up with 1.5 ounces and 60 yards of 2-ply DK/worsted weight.
For my third spin, I decided to try the Grey Gotland Sliver. I had heard from another spinner that this was wonderful, and it certainly felt soft when I pulled it out of the bag. I found this blend very easy to spin, although it shed a bit on my clothes. If I spin it again I’d definitely use a towel in my lap. I ended up producing 1.3 ounces and 69 yards of a 2-ply DK weight yarn. The finished product was definitely a little rustic, but I think would make a wonderful wooly sweater.
I would say that other than the Flax, the Cashmere was the fiber that I was most nervous about spinning. When I opened the package it was so so soft and lovely (seriously kitten soft!). Cashmere is a short stapled fiber, often blended with something slightly longer stapled, and I was a little worried that I would break my singles while spinning. It spun up much easier than I had expected it to, and despite requiring a bit of extra twist, the yarn I was able to produce was so soft and lovely. I would definitely consider spinning more of this one! I ended up with just under an ounce and 40 yards of a squishy worsted weight.
Fresh from my successful Cashmere spin, I decided to dive into the Flax. I’d never spun Flax before and I relied heavily on this excellent Knitty tutorial. I opted to spin the Flax from the fold, pulling off a staple length at a time. I kept a small bowl of water handy and tried to keep my fingertips wet as I added twist to the fiber. The flax itself was both coarse (as in broad) and smooth. It felt a little like spinning some of the longer stapled wools (Wensleydale, etc.), but it wasn’t crimped like animal fibers are. I spun approximately an ounce and ended up with 63 of a 2-ply DK weight yarn. Unfortunately I think I overspun it a bit, because again my results feel somewhat like twine. I did follow Knitty’s advice and boil the yarn to set the twist (instead of a regular wash and a thwack), but I might try it again to see if I can’t get it to soften up some more. I also know that linen improves with each wash and wear.
I saved the Merino for the tail end because I knew it would be an easier spin. It did indeed draft beautifully and yielded a nice, soft yarn. I do wish there were a bit of variation in the color (either kettle dyed or semi-solid) but the top itself was very nice to spin and comes in so many colors – it would be great for colorwork. I ended up with 1.5 ounces and 86 yards of a sport/fingering weight yarn.
The final fiber in the box was Optim. I had never spun Optim before so this was a treat. It was super soft and silky and drafted beautifully. I spun my thinnest yarn on this one – Optim just begged to be spun thin. It reminded me a little bit of silk the way it drafted with its lustrous beautiful shine. I ended up with almost 1.5 ounces and 112 yards of a fingering weight yarn. This was the perfect way to end the spinning adventure.
Overall I loved spinning this box of fiber. I think it’s a great option for any one who wants to experiment with different kinds of fiber. If you’re a lover of natural colors and well processed fiber, I think you’d really enjoy this. And what better way to make sure you’re appropriately stashed up for Spinzilla?
If you’re interested there are still a few of the July 2015 boxes left, and there’s also an August 2015 box which includes:
- 1/2 lb of Dyed Northern Lights Top
- 2oz of Camel/Silk Top
- 1 lb BFL Top
- 1/2 lb of Manx Loaghtan Wool Top
- 1/2 lb of White Masham Top
- 1/2 lb Grey Gotland Sliver
I’m tempted even though I still have almost 3 pounds of my July box left to spin!
A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Louet who sent me this box of fiber (retail: $75.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.