Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Samples away

Spurred on by my preparations for a program for our local spinning/weaving guild, Prairie Weavers, I have been doing a ton of experimentation regarding the effect of varying amounts of twist used for plying yarns (I'm not the best judge, but I think the program tonight went really well, thanks for asking).  I won't go too much into it yet because I'm planning on a whole post with pics of my samples, etc. a little later on as I have time to process it.  But I did want to show this:
(For those who are interested, this was spun on my Kromski Minstrel - singles on 12:1 ratio; ply on 16:1.  Fiber is KnitPicks Gloss roving.)

This is 38 grams of a silk/merino laceweight yarn before washing.  Before washing, it was 368 yards of yumminess.  After washing (for reasons that are plain to those who were at the guild meeting for the program), it was 332 yards of squishy yummi-numminess.  Why?  All will be made clear when the post about my little experimentation hits the stands.  I've found out why much of my laceweight yarn has been just yummy instead of squishy yummi-nummi.  It all makes so much sense now!

I've also been working with some of my recently (within the last year) acquired fleeces.
On the left is a sample skein of the bfl/suffolk cross. (By the way, I realized today that I'd misspelled Suffolk all through the last post.  I really do know how to spell it and every time I typed it I knew I was misspelling it but I just couldn't stop it.)  Next to it is a lock of the fleece.  Long staple - not unusual for a sheep with bfl in its heritage.  There's still a bit of lanolin in the fleece so I'm working on finding the best preparation for spinning.

On the right is a lock and a sample from the Polypay fleece I got earlier this year in Kentucky.  You can see the staple is only about half that of the bfl/suffolk and it has a finer crimp.  I really like the sample I spun when I combed the fleece.  It's a little more work but I got a much nicer end results. Actually, I only had to do one or two passes with the combs because it opened up so wonderfully.  I would love to have enough of this spun to make something to wear when I go to Kentucky next year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Best Fleece

I told you about the BFL/Suffolk cross fleece I got a few weeks ago but haven't been able to post any photos yet.  This fleece is just beautiful.  Every person I've talked to about this cross (everyone who knows that there is more than one type of sheep, that is) has raised their eyebrows about the odd mix.  But it's a wonderful fleece and washed so beautifully.  And much of that is hats off to the shepherd.

 It started drying out on the porch but later had to move indoors because my poor fleece was getting cold.  But here's what I was left with.

How great is that?

I haven't gotten too much of it spun because I've been working on some things for the Prairie Weaver's program on Tuesday night (a lot of things) but I did do a little sample spinning straight from the lock.  No photos exist because the experiment didn't go all that well, to be honest.  So I changed and decided to try to comb a bit of it and see how that worked.
 I didn't need more than 1 pass, really, with the combs for it all to jump open so now that I've done my little experiment, I think I can get the rest of it prepared pretty quickly.  I spun it fairly thin, although not extremely so because I want to get a finished sock weight (fingering weight) 3 ply yarn from it.  Here is the singles waiting to be plied and washed. 
I'm very excited to get this working, although it's going to take a lot more attention that just spinning from prepared roving. There's just something so tactile and satisfying about starting from the beginning and getting something to be proud of out of it.  It's what I love so much about spinning cotton from the seed.  It's basic, elemental and so satisfying to complete the cycle.