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, August 19, 2008

Photos for Podcast Episode 17

The first podcast for August is now here at Yarnspinnerstales, or in ITune if you are already subscribed. It's a mixed bag of topics this time, so I am loosely calling it, What I Learned Recently, Tips and Techniques.

The first topic is about picking a fleece. I have already posted previously about the fact that the Maine Island fleece I am working on currently had so much vegetable matter in it, that I was having problems spinning a decent yarn. I realized I needed to go back to the basics and pick the locks open after washing and before carding. I talk all about that process in the podcast. Here's a photo of the fiber after picking and before carding:

It probably could be spun that way actually, it is so open. But I like using the carder because it gives even one more chance for all that bit of stuff to fall out before forming into a batt.

I want to go into detail here about the 'stuff' removed from the locks while I picked. This is what was causing me so much trouble as I was spinning. I either had to stop and pull it out, or let it spin into the yarn, causing lumps and bumps.

Starting in the upper left corner, there is an example of locks that were not entire. If you pulled on the lock, it just split in half. Those halves, carded into the batt, made for areas where you would come to a dead end of fiber while spinning. Yes you can rejoin the fiber, but it still breaks the rhythm and therefore the smoothness of the spinning.

No explanation is needed for the next three bits of problem fiber.

Dead center between two clumps of fiber at the top of the photo, is a thin wisp of fiber with a nub attached. Next to it, in the upper right as some of the little black seeds that were driving me to distraction while spinning. And finally on the bottom of the photo are two just plain short cuts which happen from the shearer recutting an area, or repositioning the blade.

There's no way to deny that I purchased a fleece with problems. I was going only for the fact that the fleece was from a rare breed sheep. I did see the fleece before purchasing it, but was not examining it closely because I was going to buy some no matter what. I can say the fiber from this breed type would be exceptional, soft and lofty. I just got it from a breeder that really was not raising the sheep for a handspinner.

Two topics in the podcasts that I do not have photos for are how to andean ply, and also how to find competitions to enter your spinning and to prepare the skeins for judging. I thought since we are still in the middle of the Summer Olympics, to talk about another type of judging that we as spinners and knitters might actually enter.

The last topic is about spinning fat. I recently worked on a skein for my state fair for the designer yarn category and decided to go for an intentional bulky yarn. I explain in detail how I spun that yarn in the podcast.

First I discuss the fact you need a roving about a pencil width wide, which is rolled to compact it before spinning. I forgot to take a photo of that roving, but here's the single after spinning.

And then some of the 2 ply winding onto the bobbin. What you want to end up with is a 2 ply that is about the same thickness as your original roving.

I was getting a 3 WPI if wrapped loosely, 4 WPI if I scrunched them together a bit.
Finally here's a knitted swatch of the yarn.

Yeah, it looks and feels like a hotpad. It would take a creative knitter to make something with this thick yarn, but it is certainly interesting to knit. The whole point to the process was to spin with an intentional yarn in mind and that's exactly what I did.

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