Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Breed Notebook Part 1

First an explanation. Two years ago I bought a sampler pack of 20 different breeds of sheep from a vendor. It lanquished the first year, since I was so busy spinning things for sale. It got a good start this year, but I had no specific plan developed for the specific notebook. This Sunday I got in the mood to focus on this and finish it, since I am tired of it taking up space in one large basket of fiber.

Each breed had about two oz of washed fiber in the pack, and a description sheet. As I worked with each breed I took notes. What I am going to record here is those notes. When I finish spinning all of the breeds I want to take a big notebook, copy the information sheet onto stiff stock paper, type of additional information I have found about the breed, and put this in a page protector. I also have plastic photo pages and I plan to put the fiber samples, yarn samples etc in those pockets. All of this will then go into a notebook.

So here are the notes from spinning that I have so far. A few things to know are I use either a fine tooth hand carder or a medium tooth hand carder, depending on how fine the fiber seemed. My combing is done on 2 pitch hand held combs.

Fiber is very clean, very dry causing some static while combing. It has an exceptional white color. Locks are not very distinct, and there is little crimp. Hand carding was not very effective, it caused neps in the batt. When combing, the fiber drafted off in short staples.

Spinning the carded batt emphasized the neps, some could be pulled out, others causes thick places in the yarn. A medium spindle was a bit too lightweight for the fiber. Yarn spun on my electric was better, the longer draft zone smoothed some of the bumps out. Yarn was 2 ply 8 WPI, a 7 yard skein.

Spinning the combed fiber on my electric produced a very smooth yarn, using a long triangle draw. There was lots of bounce to the yarn after plied and skeined. Sample is 10 WPI in an 8 yd skein.

Both methods seemed to need more twist in the singles. Both skeins hung loose after plying, very little residual twist.

Fiber clean, dry, with some static. Color is an off white, with moderate crimp. It had obvious locks with the tips still held together. It hand carded nicely with few neps. It was easy to comb, and moderately easy to pull off of the combs.

Spinning the carded fiber gave an occasional bump that could be pulled from the yarn. Used a very short drafting triangle. On my electric the 2 ply yarn is 11 WPI in an 8 yard skein.

Spinning the combed top was delightful. Could use a very long drafting draw and yarn was very smooth.
2 ply was 11 WPI (no record of length of skein).

Both yarns relaxed and poofed after skeining.

Fiber not very clean looking, yellow tips. Gave an all over appearance of a dirty white color. It had distinct locks and moderate crimp. Did not like how the fiber carded, it had many neps. Combs gave a nicer bump free top, but the fiber was hard to pull off the combs.

Spinning the carded fiber was surprising it actually drafted nicely and a longer draw smooth out any bumps. The 2 ply yarn from my electric spinner was 10 WPI in a 12 yard skein.

Spinning the combed fiber also was a surprise. It could be spun very very fine. I did a bit of both types of spinning, and had a regular 2 ply yarn of 11 WPI in a 12 yard skein, and a fine 2 ply of 21 WPI in a small sample skein.

There was no poof to the yarn after plying and skeining.

A fun sample to play with. It was off white with dark brown spots mixed in. I seperate the colors as best I could and also left some together to blend. The fiber had no definate locks, and had a high crimp. It carded very nicely, I did some white and some of the blend of colors. It was a hard sample to comb, I had to pay very close attention while pulling off the comb to not pull too hard. The combs are better for blending the colors though.

Spinning the carded fiber would only give me a bulky, bumpy yarn. The white looked more like oatmeal, once it was spun and the blend of color was a lovely tweedy although bumpy yarn. Both in 2 ply were 10 WPI in an 11 yard and 6 yard skein.

Spinning the carded fiber produce a lovely blended grey yarn. It could be spun very fine. I was surprised to find my 2 ply measured at only 15 WPI, it seemed to be finer as a single (obviously all that high crimp in the fiber).

Border Leicester
This is a white fiber that still felt a little sticky. It had very long locks with alot of the ends still twisted together. The crimp was wide and wavy. If these locks are opened up they card well on the hand carders. It did not comb well. It made wide puffs of fiber full of static in spite of the residual lanolin. I could get some nice top if I used some of the shorter locks.

Spinning the carded fiber produced a moderately nice yarn. It was difficult to draft, the stickiness of the fiber fighting the drafting. My 2 ply sample spun on my electric spinner was 13 WPI in a 17 yard skein.

Spinning the combed fiber was easier, I could use a very long smooth draw. It still only spun moderately fine. I noticed while plying that the singles were definately underspun, they were not holding the twist at all in some spots. The 2 ply yarn was 15 WPI.

More later in Part 2


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