Follow Me Down Cousin Jack

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you’ll know that I have been working on the alpaca yarn project “Follow Me Down, Cousin Jack” for the longest time. Today is a fire-in-my-belly inspirational type of post to give myself a kick and update you on where we are at.

This has been kick-started by spending time with the Ashfield Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers over Wonderwool Wales – watching these amazing ladies do their thing and chatting to them has helped inspire me to get this project done!

Follow Me Down Cousin Jack

Here’s the recap of the project as we have it at the moment. Before I tell you about the actual spinning, come on a journey with me.

My parents live in Devon, and I used to drive down to see them on a regular basis. One day, I stopped for fuel at Honiton Garage – I was stopped short when I went in to pay by a huge display of yarn, fibre, felting kits and made items. I think the people behind the counter thought I was quite mad…the excitement at finding fibre in a totally unexpected place was quite shocking.

Tonks is really loving the alpaca fibre! I want to make her a bed of alpaca fibre so she can stop playing with mine!
Tonks is really loving the alpaca fibre! I want to make her a bed of alpaca fibre so she can stop playing with mine!

I bought two packs of Bearhouse Alpaca fawn fibre – for 200 grams I paid £6, which I thought was rather a bargain. This was unwashed and otherwise unprocessed – in order to get it into a form I could spin, I needed to pick the organic matter out of it. I decided to card it and make it into rolags that I could spin.

Meanwhile, at Unravel 2013, I found UK Alpaca for the first time and I bought a pack of assorted black alpaca fibre from them. This is spinning discard from their own mills – I’m not sure why they can’t use it, and this is something that I should perhaps chat to someone about, but I’m finding it fine with regards to spinning it myself!

Both of these packs of fibre have been sitting around since I bought them, with occasional attempts to spin them. I had a really productive moment in February with my Dragon Yarn, which inspired me to get a whole bobbin of Follow Me Down Cousin Jack spun – that’s the right bobbin in the below photo.

The two full bobbins ready to be plied when I've got my act together!
The two full bobbins ready to be plied when I’ve got my act together!

What had been holding me back was the need to sort the Bearhouse Alpaca fleece, and turn it into some sort of object that I could spin! For the last month or so, I have been sorting through the fibre for fifteen minutes per day. Yesterday in the time I was going to spend blogging, I spent just finishing off that pack of fibre. I then started spinning it, and now I’m all ready to go on getting it spun and out of my WIP basket.

It’s amazing how this project has become this huge monster in my mind, because I’ve been worrying about it so much. I’ve bought some fibre this year, which I cannot wait to spin – but I’ve told myself I’m not allowed to spin anything else until I finish this project. Now that I’ve broken the back of it and have just the spinning left to go, I’m wondering what the heck has taken me so long – but that’s always the way with projects that stagnate, in my experience.

The leftover project, with the prepared fibre on the right, finished bobbins on the left.
The leftover project, with the prepared fibre on the right, finished bobbins on the left.

Once I’ve finished spinning the Bearhouse Alpaca fibre, I will work on the UK Alpaca pack, which I have used a bit to mix into the BA fibre, and the next set of yarn will be all black. I have a number of potential projects for the yarn lined up – one is Precious by Belinda Harris-Reid, the other Elijah by Ysolda Teague.

The next time I talk about this fibre, it’s going to be a finished project. That’s a promise!

The Bearhouse Alpaca fibre on the last bobbin.
The Bearhouse Alpaca fibre on the last bobbin.

Has anybody else got projects that you’re loving but just struggling to get through?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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10 Responses to Follow Me Down Cousin Jack

  1. I am always in awe of anyone that can process their own fleece, I know like most things it takes practice………

    I am procrastinating over what to make my daughter for her birthday. I am void of ideas really having just made a heap of presents for my niece and nephews I need a break I think, trouble is I don’t really have the time for that!

    I think I too would do a double take at fibrey things for sale in a garage!

    • Corrie Berry says:

      It was quite hard to get started, and I don’t pretend to be great at it now. I tend to think of nubs, vegetable matter and unsuitable fibre as design features rather than anything else!

      Why don’t you have a look on Pinterest? You may not find anything in particular you want to make, but it might just get your creative juices flowing if you explore some crafts you don’t normally do.

  2. One day I shall have to get my spinning wheel up and functioning but it’s missing parts – like bobbins! And I have a mountain of WIP’s to get through first ;O)

    • Corrie Berry says:

      Don’t put it off forever! You can get bobbins anywhere, and it is so soothing! I like spinning as an activity for when my brain is buzzing way more than knitting…good luck, I know all about the mountain of WIPs!

  3. Natalie says:

    I have a project just like that. Well, two actually. One is a spinning project with roving I bought in December of which I have one mostly full bobbin and more than half to go. One is a shawl I am attempting to crochet that has been in the works, also since December, that is going nowhere fast. Glad to see I’m not alone in this little boat of mine. Thanks for sharing.

    • Corrie Berry says:

      I think we all get stuck in it sometimes! I’ve had to learn that the thought of these projects is often more tiring than actually just sitting down and finishing them. It’s just the initial kick to sit down and do it – I’m always surprised when I finish a project that I’ve been putting off for months and I suddenly finish it in like two hours. Good luck!

  4. gracey says:

    I don’t spin…so most of what you said I did not understand….but I love that you have a long term project that you are loving…and plans for the yarn when it is done…

  5. Oh you’ve inspired me, I have 4 oz raw alpaca I started combing, but never finished! And another 4 and another 4 that I never started …

  6. isla says:

    Can’t wait to see your fibre all spun up. As for projects I am struggling with….. Its my Colossus. Its not difficult and I love how it is looking. It’s just slow going as I am not the fastest cable knitter in the world and its in 4 ply.

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