I told myself that this year, I'd purchase something from each monthly update of Countess Ablaze's new collection: The Odyssey Trail. As usual, updates are rough. You essentially have about one minute and seventeen seconds to put everything in your basket and click through to checkout, and even then you don't manage to score everything you had your eye on. I actually really wanted some superwash Merino in a black/orange/pink/red colourway, but by the time I'd hit checkout it was sold out. Wow. Luckily, I also quite fancied this braid of Southdown and managed to get my grubby mitts on it just in time.

The photos on the website didn't do this fibre justice at all - there's a swirling mix of yellow, green, orange, purple... a hint of red here and there. The braid looks completely different from each angle, and that's a constant wonder to me. Even the two-year-old was intrigued: "què és això?" whilst poking and prodding.

I've not spun any Southdown yet... In fact, I'd never handled it before. The structure surprised me - it's very spongy. For someone used to Merino - soft and smooth - the Southdown is a completely different experience. Maybe due to the fibre diameter (Southdown is 24-31 microns, whereas Merino comes in at 19-23), but the fibre itself has a very fine crimp to it that makes it very airy and light, squishy, even a little spongy in texture. Either way, I'm super excited to give this a go - once I get through a little of my existing stash, at least!

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