Not Another Laceweight

Hey, so I guess I forgot to talk about this yarn I made? I think I mentioned it over here but never elaborated huh?

Gobbler Loose

Well I followed the advice I’d read in The Intentional Spinner about changing wheel ratios & using a higher tension to effectively change yarn weights, and it seemed to work out pretty well. At first I was consciously trying to pull out more fibre as I was drafting, but even when I settled into mindless-zombie-drafting, it still worked out to be bigger yarn. Crazy stuff, I know!

Prepped for spinning

This is also the first of my Hello Yarn fibre stash that I have spun and the first time that I’ve spun Cheviot too. It has a pleasing crunchiness to it as I spun. It’s hard for me to articulate, but I found it an enjoyable spin.

First half spun

As I’m still on my previously mentioned WOOLEN FOREVER, WORSTED NEVER! kick at the moment, I treated this top differently than my previous go to method. I started by dividing the top in half (I even weighed both halves to be sure they were close to even), and then pulled out staple length poufs from one end & spun them from the fold.

Singles in progress

Not laceweight

I ended up with long sections of each colour. But as I didn’t do any compensation to be sure colours would line up, this yarn turned out very barber pole-y as a result. It’s fine by me. My only plan for this bump of fibre was for a larger gauge of yarn, and that’s what I got.

Finished Skein

2-ply
‘Gobbler’ by Hello Yarn
Fibre Club for October 2012
100% Cheviot Top
Woolen spun from the fold
Start Date: May 14, 2014
End Date: June 11, 2014

Woolen Spun

Back in March, I caught the spinning bug again after reading winter issue of Ply magazine. Now there was a LOT of that farm fleece to go through, and as this was a rather grimy fleece, I didn’t quite get through scouring it all. That’s ok. I have enough prepared fibre from the fleece to play with for a bit. I think I might try to get a decently clean fleece in future to play with. Now I have a “real” reason to possibly go to Rheinbeck in future.

The other thing that I got super excited about in this issue was the first article “Lying About Longdraw: Helping spinners get from worsted to woolen” by Jacey Boggs. I was really pumped to work through the methodology laid out in the article to get to spinning woolen.

Yoke Roving

So I picked this merino roving out of my fibre stash. Yes, it’s roving and not top. I thought it was a batt when I picked it out at Lettuce Knit on a weekend trip to Toronto a few years ago, but later saw that it was roving wrapped up. The article does say to work through with differently prepped fibres but I decided to work through with the same fibre throughout. Still worked.

Somewhere around step 5 or 6 things really started to click and I was “instinctively” started pulling the fibre out longer and longer before allowing it to wind onto the bobbin. Suddenly I was using longdraw like nobody’s business.

Yolk 2-ply

I was so pumped by my successes with this skein that I went to the library and took out a number of spinning books. The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin and The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson were the most useful that I read.

Yolk 2-ply

I’d love to say that I flew through this bump of fibre, but I’ve been spinning in my fastest ratios for a while which means I keep ended up with very fine singles (such problems to have!). I didn’t do a WPI count, but I can say that based on the weight to yardage ratio, this yarn lace weight.

Yolk 2-ply
2-ply
‘Yolk’ Pear Tree
100% Merino Roving
Woolen spun
Start Date: June 2013 (?)
End Date: May 14, 2014
112g
Approx. 774 yards

I finished the yarn by fulling it. I washed it in hot water and transferred it to cold water and back a few times before thwacking it against the side of my tub. It’s so soft and surprisingly plump and squishy. I’m not sure if I’ll be doing much worsted spinning anymore. This woolen yarn is that nice!

I’m so pumped about this yarn that I nearly threw all my active projects aside to immediately cast on for Kate Davies’ Hap for Harriet. I have contained myself for the moment, but it’s sure to be on the needles soon enough.

On my latest spinning project, I’ve changed my ratios and am trying to spin a heavier gauge of yarn. It was going to be a proper 3-ply, but I didn’t think I’d get much yardage.

Fleece-sanity

A sheep’s fleece has taken over my front studio space this week. It was quite accidental and surprising as I’ve had this fleece for years. I can’t even remember where this fleece came from. A family run farm either in Ontario or here in Quebec. After a number of offers through friends of friends, my brother finally gave me this bag full of fleece to play with some time after I got my wheel.

I’ve never quite worked up to digging into this fleece until now. Since this came from a farm where sheep are raised for food instead of wool, it’s not the cleanest of fleeces. Combined with my understanding that fleeces from “meat sheep” are considered “garbage”, I figured it wouldn’t be worth the considerable effort it would take to clean this. Also, I don’t have any proper wool scour. All these are reasons that this fleece became a “never never” project and it got put into a fibre bin for a few years.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I heard mention of PLY Magazine by some indie dyers/spinners on Twitter. I decided to try out an issue. Reading through, the Winter Woolen issue popped out at me. I’ve been trying to teach myself longdraw for the past few years, since I started playing with cotton.

Longdraw is supposed to be faster, but somehow my spinning hasn’t really increased in speed much in the past few years. My spinning posture has been pretty awkward too. I’m not convinced that I’ve really gotten the hang of longdraw just yet. So I was quite excited to see that there was an entire issue devoted to the subject and ordered a copy to see how the magazine was.

After sitting around on my coffee table for a while, I finally took a look inside. I was quickly hooked and read this issue straight through cover to cover. My friends will know how rare this is for me to do with any kind of magazine. I will often buy some magazine, flip through, read some of it and then rant about how none of the articles are in-depth enough. This usually leads to someone suggesting that I stick to books.

But this issue was completely satisfying to me. So much good information! Lots of articles! New ideas! Knowledge from people who know more than me! After finishing reading through the issue, I feel much more confident in continuing my efforts to learn woolen drafting methods.

I was immediately inspired to drag out this fleece I’ve been storing for years based on the article about down breeds of sheep by Beth Smith. Basically the article refutes the idea that these are “garbage” fleeces not worth processing and suggests that the wool is well suited to making socks. Dense, warm, and even somehow “felt resistant”.

So I dragged out this bundle of fibre, dumped it on my floor, and got to work preparing it to scour. I started by picking out vegetable matter and lightly fluffing the locks before scouring.

After scouring a few bundles, it’s become apparent how fibre needs to be REALLY clean before getting wet. All the caked on mud bits stayed pretty much as they were after an overnight soak, scour and multiple rinses.

So my pre-scour preparations are now more thorough. I’m using my flick carder to open up each lock. So the fleece taking over my floor is slowly getting prepped for the next step.

It’s unbelievable how soft and fluffy the washed fibre is. It’s going to be so fun to play with!