I've been working on a custom order I received (to be given as a Christmas gift by the customer) for three skeins of hand-spun yarn. The fun thing is that the customer has given me complete latitude in choosing colors and yarn weight. The only stipulation for the order has been that the yarn include alpaca fleece. Now this is the kind of customer I like! But that's not the thing that will probably never happen again.
Here are the three skeins I've done to complete this order:
The bright blue is a light fingering weight yarn that is a mixture of 50% white suri alpaca, 30% blue merino, and 20% silk. Heaven to spin! The alpaca fleece came from Sakura, a gorgeous dam who has consistently produced ~4 pounds of blanket fleece at an average of 21 microns. The dark brown yarn is a sport weight and a mixture of 50% brown huycaya alpaca, 30% yellow merino, and 20% silk. The alpaca fleece came from Victoria with a micron count ~45. The lighter brown skein has one ply that is 70% brown/pink/white merino and 30% silk and a second ply that is 100% white suri alpaca. The alpaca fleece for this skein came from Valentina, another dam whose micron count averages ~20.
Now when I spin I'm not very good about planning ahead to have one ply come out about the same length as the other ply. Even if I weigh the roving before I start to spin and make sure that I have the same amount for each ply, I always come out with lots more of one ply than the other. For example, when I spun the two plies for the bright blue yarn, this is how much of one ply I had left over when I ran out of the other ply:
The same was true for the dark brown skein.
But THIS is how much I had left over of the merino/silk blend when I ran out of the alpaca for the lighter brown skein! 44 inches!
This will probably never happen again!