Targhee/silk spinning fiber: Earthsea variation, 4 oz
Earthsea is named partly for the series by Ursula K. LeGuin and partly for the island archipelago that I suspect inspired her geography, the San Juan and Gulf Islands. These melting blues, turquoises, and deep greens remind me of how the evergreens rise almost straight from the waters of Georgia Strait. This dyelot of Earthsea has more green than usual.
It's handpainted on 4 oz of my custom blend of 75% Targhee and 25% tussah silk. Both the Targhee and the silk started off as combed top, and were carefully pin-drafted together rather than carded. The result is a soft and springy blend that is free of the neps and noils that you might see in some small-farm Targhee.
Pin-drafting produces fiber that is thinner than commercial top. To make the dyeing process easier, I doubled the fiber, so as you unbraid the fiber, you’ll see that there are two separate “strands.” This also makes it easy to preserve color changes if you want a 2-ply yarn--just spin each strand separately on different bobbins and ply them together.
If you're not familiar with Targhee, it's a relatively young sheep breed that was orginally developed in the early 1900s in Idaho from Rambouillet, Corriedale, and Lincoln stock. The Targhee used in this blend was grown and processed in the U.S., and was selected for its softness (23.0-23.5 microns). Soft and springy, with a smaller carbon footprint, it's a fiber that's as beautiful as it is truly all-American.