Here is the Endicott merino, spun, plied, washed and swatched. I am amazed how forgiving knitting is with lumpy wool yarn.
I am now thinking of maybe using this, with a little Amethyst merino spun in for shading purposes, for a cardiganized Butterfly. Guess what I'll be spinning on my honeymoon? I've already decided there will be no knitting-my hands are fried and need a rest.
Lest Claudia and Scullery Maid think their generous gifts are going unsung, rest assured they are not, it's just taking some time to spin up all that wool. That was a hefty chunk Ms. Scullery Maid gave me, and I'm hoping to make something good with it:
In the meantime, I have developed a theory about spinning. Could be half-assed and cockamamie, but that's what learning is all about. It seems to me that the rougher wools don't need as much twist when you spin; they stick to themselves already because they're kinkier (keep it clean, people, keep it clean, there are no three-ways in my tiny little wool stash!). One of the reasons people refer to merino as "slippery" is because it's so smooth and straight it doesn't stick to itself when you draft it. As a result, it doesn't stick to itself when you spin it, either. When you are spinning, it seems to me the only thing holding merino together as yarn is the twist--especially using a drop spindle, where you are asking it to have a little tensile strength, too.
Can you tell I have spent way too much time alone with my needles/spindle this weekend? I wanted to make a big push on Snowdrop to get it done by next weekend so that I could start the next (last!) shawl: the Domovoi shawl from Folk Shawls (a great book, by the way). Initially I wanted to make the Fiber Trends' Baltic Sea Stole, but my LYS didn't have the pattern. The Domovoi works better though, as it is a Russian pattern and the bridemaid in question was a Russian major in college. So, appropriate and gorgeous (and easy!), all at the same time. At least, I hope gorgeous...