Thursday, February 26, 2009



Many things have seemed elusive recently, including the color of the final Twilight yarn. A little grey, a little brown, an overwash of deep rose...

Actual progress on spinning projects also feels elusive. It may not actually BE elusive, because trail and error must be adding something to the body of knowledge, but still, an FO seems a far off dream.

Spend several hours today processing some alpaca fleece (a not to brilliant picture here). Staple is about 4 inches with some crimp. Light VM, some easily spotted second cuts. Initially the fleece was dusty, which produced a gritty spinning experience. Not for me. A wash left the fiber cleaner, but somewhat wadded together and crusty at the tips. Tried the following:

1. Separate locks. Drum card locks butt end first (on coarse guild loaner). Result - is it everyone else's photographs or do my batts really look tangled?

2. Separate locks. Flick with flea comb (oops, was that supposed to be dog comb?). Result: Almost all VM removed. Easily fed into carder "sideways."

3. Separate locks. "Topload" drum carder, initially holding locks until they are pulled open, then gradually releasing for take up. Result: like flicking, but faster.

4. For areas without discernible lock structure: pick into open cloud. Drum card. Result: slightly more textured batt. Slightly more VM.

In my mind, I picture a perfectly smooth batt, but I'm starting to realize that I don't know how to get that result. Do I card more (two or three runs through), or am I just hitting a wall with the coarse cloth and the fine fiber?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Spinning Survey

Merino Fiber

Cosy is asking spinners for their reflections spinning different sheep breeds and preparations of fiber. In her post she asked:

"what have you spun in what preparation? if you’ve spun both top and roving, which did you like better? were either of these farm wool? was there a notable difference between the farm wool and the non farm wool? elaborate or not as much as you would like!"

Breed: Blue-faced Leicester
Preparation: commercial top (Underwater Sunset, Skittles, Insect Wings, Mild Child)
Experience: Of the breed specific top I have spun, most has been BFL. An easy spin, and the final product has some luster.

Breed: Corriedale
Preparation: commercial top
Had one batch that was neppy and semi-felted in the dyeing process. Not very fun, although the final product had a surprising amount of loft. The other lot of top was actually Corriedale X top that I dyed and blended on the drum carder. Spun bulky, that resulted in a fluffy yarn.

Breed: Shetland (Red Velvet)
Preparation: commercial top
A smooth, easy spin.

Breed: Merino
Preparation: commercial top (Verbena)
My only experience was superwash Merino. In retrospect I don’t think I per-drafted enough because the fiber was so fine and fly-away I was afraid to muddle it up. As a result of not pre-drafting enough the final yarn is very dense and thick – but so, so soft!

Preparation: farm, roving (shawl, hat)
Woolly and springy. Light processing made this fiber seem more alive. My favorite so far.

Preparation: farm, roving
Love, love, love the colors. Have found significant variation in the scratchiness of this fiber.

Gotland (samples)
Preparation: commercial top
Spun a pinch from the fold. Seems sturdy and lustrous.
Preparation: farm, pin-drafted
Lofty, textured.

Coopworth (samples)
Preparation: farm, roving?
I sampled two different colors from two different sheep. One was certainly more neppy than the other. I would like to work with more of this.

Cotswold (samples)
Preparation: farm, top
Hairy. But I’d give it another try

I've only been spinning a year, and there is still so much to discover and learn! Right now I have farm Merino (pictured at the top of this post), Mohair, Teeswater locks, Merino x Romney locks, and silk in the spinning queue waiting for me to have the time and inspiration to turn them into something...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Here's To Year Three...

spindlefrog twilight roving

Currently working on some Corriedale from Spindlefrog. The subtlety of color over color is exquisite. Reminds me of taffeta.

corriedale singles

Still haven't decided how to ply it to get the color transitions just right, but there are many more yards of singles to go.

P.S. - today marks the end of my second year with this blog. It's fun to look back and see how the opportunity to journal about my fiber hobby (and life in general) has given me a sense of perspective and accomplishment. I know I haven't been the best at responding to comments, so this year I'm resolving to take the time to interact more. Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you!