Breed & Colour Studies: Organic Polwarth

This week, we are taking a small break from the podcast due to Spring Break here! I am * hopefully * camping with my family – weather permitting – and I hope you have a chance to catch up on past content this week before we are back to regular scheduled programming next week!

As many know, we’ve been working our way through studying Organic Polwarth on colours Katrina dyed over the course of the fall for those who wanted to participate. This study has been a very interesting study for several reasons. First, many in the community began spinning immediately and have produced some amazing results. Second, those spinning have been very adventurous, something Katrina and I have noticed as the studies have continued. And last, I went through my own sort-of crisis about how and what I was going to spin. I decided in the end to take some pressure off myself and just spin to spin, but more on that later.


Those who decided to participate in the study and received fibre, started spinning so quickly that I was blown away at some of the results. We had knitted and woven items before the beginning of February and the study had only started in October with fibre shipping in November – it was amazing! The Breed & Colour Studies thread on Ravelry blew up almost immediately. The energy and enthusiasm for the study was overwhelming!

This study, we decided to look at a ‘control’ braid (pictured right above) and an ‘experimental’ braid. The control braid was similar to a ‘traditional’ colourway that one might see at a fibre festival or online shop. The colours are absolutely beautiful and Katrina called it ‘Graffiti’. I think some were most excited about this braid than the experiment! The experimental braid was dyed with the same colours but broken up into splashes of dye, rather than a repeatable colourway, and then brown was added. Because the colours were poured onto the fibre, the underlying white was left visible in many places as well.


Many in the community have been really pushing themselves out of their comfort zones these past few studies, either using them in their 51 Yarns SAL or trying yarns that will push their skills to learn more. Many of these yarns from spiral plied to colour management push each individual to learn, handle twist and fibre differently, and grow in their skills. To then turn around and share with the community solidifies their learning. To take it one step further, it also helps them to explain to others what they did, how they envisioned their goal and executed, and how to create it again – TRUE learning!


While I was figuring out what to do with my own fibre, I just kind of hit a wall. I had no idea what to do with it! I felt really torn about whether to spin large-volume to have enough yardage to weave or spin 2-ply yarns with the goal of knitting. The only reason for the distinction between the two was that I had two different projects in my mind: A woven blanket from fractal-spun yarns or a shawl knit from traditional 2-ply yarns. The more pressure I put on myself to make a decision, the more difficult moving forward became! In our January How I Spin Vlog, I discuss this in more detail.


I decided to place the fibre somewhere I would see it everyday and have to continue to think about. Otherwise, I continued working on other spinning projects and hoped inspiration would hit.

It did eventually! While deciding what to spin for my current 51 Yarns projects, which we are exploring all about colour at the moment (March & April 2020 for Group A – Index here), I had a thought: Why not spin the Colour Management Yarns using our Breed & Colour Study fibre?! And a project was born.


So as I worked through the Decision Paralysis and thought about how sometimes the best projects are side-tracked, completely changing direction, I started spinning. I couldn’t be happier with my finished yarns! I’m not sure what my finished yarn statistics are but I will be sure to calculate all of that when I decide to cast on a project – I am heavily leaning towards a Nightshift shawl at the moment. For the time being, I have loaded them on one of my ‘yarn branches’ and I will just admire them. The process is sometimes more important than the finished object – I’m okay with a bit of stash like this hanging around for a while!


How do you work through decision paralysis in your making and life?

Until next time,

Happy Spinning!


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