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.

Friday, October 03, 2008

September podcasts information

I have been recording two podcasts a month for almost a year now, and generally have been creating a post on this blog for each one. I did not post though for the first podcast in September so I will combine the notes for both in this post.

The podcasts are on this website and you can download directly from there, or subscribe in ITunes under Yarnspinners Tales (do a search in the podcast area of ITunes).

Episode 19 was a technical show, all about how the different drives work on spinning wheels. I explain the three main types of bobbin and flyer drives used in spinning wheels. These are the flyer driven, bobbin driven or the double drive. I found it very interesting to learn how each of these types of wheels work, and think that if a spinner has this understanding, they will be able to make the wheel spin the yarn they want to create, and not have to just take the 'luck of the draw' (now there's a spinning term I had not thought of before, I wonder if it does relate back to spinning, just like 'asleep at the wheel').

I have a wheel that fits in each of these categories and I include in the explanations specific details about each of those wheels.

I really did not plan to post any photos relating to that podcast, but while I was uploading photos for the rest of this post, I found a good close up of my Haldane, showing the double drive. In the double drive, both the bobbin and the flyer are driven by the treadling. This photo shows how the one drive band goes over the groove in the bobbin and flyer.

This second photo shows how that one drive band is doubled on the drive wheel. Treadling the spinning wheel while turn the drive wheel and cause both the flyer and bobbin to turn. Listen to the podcast for a very detailed explanation of why this makes double drive wheels very specific for the type of yarn they will spin.

The late September podcast, just released, is the more informal spin-in podcast. I talk about two different rare, but often available sheep fleeces, and then later, while spinning, go into a yarnspinner tale about why there is so much stash at my house.

One of the breeds of sheep that I talk about is the Jacob. This is a very old breed, and is thought to be relatively true to the original genetics, considering all the years and flocks that have passed. The sheep is small, horned and known for their distinctive faces and multicolored fleeces. The best part of working with the Jacob fleece is the fun of deciding just how to spin the yarn, using those colors.

You can take the shades, and card them together to blend getting a yarn like the one on the left in this photo:

You can pull the colors apart and keep them completely separate, spinning each color into it's own lovely yarn, like this photo:

Or you can get creative, like I did once for my state fair, and spin an amount of one color, then another, then another. When you navajo ply, keeping the colors mostly together, and knit, you will get a yarn that is self striping, like in this photo:

The second sheep breed I discuss is mostly found in the southwest of the United States, the Navajo Churro. This breed was brought to the new world by the Spanish explorers, and was quickly adopted by the native americans, since the breed was hardy and survived well in the arid climate. The original genetics was mostly lost, but a breeding program in the 1970's brought the breed back close to the original.

This fleece is double coated and tends to have an extremely long and coarse outer coat, and a shorter, softer undercoat. Generally it is not considered soft enough for next to the skin wear, but is highly prized for Navajo weaving, because of it luster, and lovely dyeing results. It also comes in a wide range of natural colors, which are again prized for their beauty.

This is a sample of a roving I purchased. It felt soft and I am not sure if the outer coat had been removed or if the fleece was just a higher quality. It was lovely to spin.

This is some sample locks and yarn from a fleece I purchased and processed. The first photo shows the variety of color in the fleece.

And this photo shows some of the sample skeins I spun, after either carding or combing the washed fiber.

Although both of these breeds are considered rare, there are breeders in the US that have flocks of these sheep, or a few of the animals in their spinners flock. Both fleeces are lovely to work with, and truly fun to spin, and I would encourage you to try some, if you have the opportunity.

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