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.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Frog hair exchange

Well, there is frog hair, and then there is my froghair.

Let's just say when my spin group members saw my exchange they thought it was for the rare breed, not froghair.

Oh well.

I did learn alot, and have a great time doing it. I have mailed it in, and will get 10 other peoples exchange sheets back. I love having the notebooks around of these exchanges. It gives me another excuse to look at fiber.

Here are some of the stats on my froghair samples.

I did two different wool breeds, a shetland and a cormo. Both were raw fiber when I bought them and both were washed by the lock method recommended by Margaret Stove in her book Merino. I had written about the washing of these in an earlier blog.

I spun both on my Ashford traditional, with a lace flyer. I have found it very hard to make fine yarn on my Roberta electric, the pull-in is too hard and will snap the yarn. My Haldane only has two ratios, and I usually end up with about the same type of yarn, around 16 WPI for a two ply, just a nice sock yarn.

I have not had much experience spinning on the Ashford with the lace flyer, so I used this froghair exchange as an excuse to get me spinning on it.

Before doing this spinning, my usually yarn was running around 11-13 WPI for a two ply. Just your average mid weight yarn.

I spun the shetland first. I am very addicted to spinning from the lock. It is simplicity at it's finest. Just wash the lock, let it dry, pile them beside you, grab one, and latch the tip fibers to what you are spinning, and away you go. Eventually, the lock is all gone and you have yards of a fine yarn. When I would occasionally hit a pill of wool, I could just pull it off before or after it got spun. The small amount of VM, even very fine, would just drop out as the yarn was too fine to even hold it. Yes, it is very addicting spinning.

The shetland spun easier than the cormo. However it had quite a halo to it, making it look thicker than it really was. I was able to spin a single of 40 WPI with the 2 ply being 22 WPI.

The cormo was nice and lanolin free, that was one problem I had before trying to do the lock washing method. It didn't draft quite as easily as the shetland. It's single though is a halo free tight yarn. I got a 36 WPI single with the cormo.

It was very noticable how soft the cormo was, compared to the shetland. The shetland was soft but obviously wool, the cormo did not even feel like wool.

After wrapping single and 2 ply samples on cardboard, I plied the rest and skeined it. I then washed the skeins. I did not weight the skeins while they dried. The shetland did not change much, but the cormo skein really reduced in size. It also looked twice as fluffy as the shetland even though they were close in WPI. By the time I made a small skein for the exchange sheets, the lovely fine singles looked just like regular old sock yarn.

I used plastic sheets from Century Plastics to make my exchange sheet. It really is a plastic sheet for photos, I used one pocket for the cardboard with shetland wrapped on it, and another pocket for the cardboard with the cormo wrapped on it. I put a small skein behind each of those. In a top pocket, I put the write up sheet. Small locks of the washed fiber were put in pockets beside that. It did make a nice presentation.

I will admit to being disappointed that I could not spin finer. I can see the technique, it is just not in my fingers or my wheels adjustment yet. I need to try a lighter drive band, and maybe even brake band. I still have plenty of fiber left, a lock will just spin yards and yards of yarn.

And it is a big improvement for me, as far as fine yarn. I am really looking forward to spinning a rust colored shetland fleece that I have. I think it would make a stunning lacy shawl.


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