The last few weeks I've been doing more spinning than knitting.
Last summer I bought 500g of North Ronaldsay top (from Scottish Fibres). North Ronaldsay sheep are different from other sheep in that their diet consists mostly of seaweed. This gives their fleece a different feel to that of other sheep. It's springy - almost stretchy.
I have to admit that when I first started spinning this, it wasn't love at first treadle. I wondered if I'd made a big mistake in buying it - that it was beyond my nowhere near expert spinning ability and that I should put it aside for future use, but I'd bought it with the intention of knitting a Reine cardigan and I'd already bought and downloaded the pattern.
Early last week I finished spinning the fifth 100g bump of fleece, so washed it and hung it up to dry.
Using my niddy noddy to make each bobbin of plyed yarn into a skein (before washing) and counting the turns, I was able to keep track of how many metres were in each skein and I've got 1087 metres.
Which I'm not sure is going to be enough. The pattern says that for my size, I need six skeins of yarn, which is 1255 metres for five balls, plus however much of the sixth skein needs to be used. In other words, 200-400 metres short.
Looking at the finished Reines on Ravelry and reading some of the comments, it seems to be quite a long cardigan, so I'm tempted to read the pattern properly before I start (unusual for me, I know!), knit a swatch and compare the finished measurements in the pattern to my own body length and decide if shortening it would mean a better-looking cardigan for me. I might just start knitting it once I've finished my current sweater and then buy some more fleece/top if it looks as though I'm going to run out.
I'm quite pleased with this. My spinning was fairly consistent and the four of the skeins are more or less the same metres/gramme (one's slightly thinner than the others, but that's ok - I can alternate skeins). The original Reine is knitted in Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn (knitting the cardigan in that would cost in the region of £80 for my size, I think) which is a woolly, lofty yarn and I think the way I've spun the North Ronaldsay has given me a yarn that's similar in style.
Overall I'm pleased with it and I think working with this breed of fleece has definitely meant my spinning has improved.
I've been doing some other spinning since finishing off this, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow as it hasn't worked out quite how I expected.