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, April 23, 2009

Episisode 29 podcast pictures

The April Spin In podcast is posted, you can find it here or in ITunes under Yarnspinners Tales.

I took quite a few pictures that go along with the podcast, but you can enjoy the photos without listening too. The first segments of the podcast are discussions of two sheep breeds, both of which are double coated fleeces. The first called Spaelsau, is from Norway. A big thank you to one of my listeners Silja, for sending me some black and white fleece from this breed of sheep. I was able to wash it and spin some sample skeins to keep in my breed notebook.

Spaelsau was created from an original old breed of Norweigen sheep, bred with Icelandic, Finn and some Faroe Island sheep. The long outer coat of the fleece is rough but spins into a very strong yarn, useful for many non garment type uses. The under coat is softer and can be carded and spun into a bouncy yarn useful for hats, mitten and socks.

This is a sample of the unwashed white Spaelsau:
And this is the unwashed black Spaelsau:

Note the very long locks, and the obvious coarser outer coat in the black:

After separating most of the rougher outer coat, and washing the remaining undercoat the Spaelsau looked like this:

These are the sample skeins of the white, with carded and combed fiber (try clicking on the photo for a larger version if you want to read the tags)

And the black:

My favorite sample skein was from the black undercoat carded and spun into a very low twist, bulky yarn. Here's a picture of that skein (it's softer than it looks in the photo)

Since most spinners will not be able to get a fleece from a spael sheep, I did a second review of a more readily available double coated sheep, the Icelandic. Here's the sample skeins from that review:

In the Yarnspinners Tale part of the podcast I talk about a recent road trip to a spinning and weaving store The Woolery Recently this mail/catalog only business moved to Frankfort Ky, expanding the business to include a store front. This puts the store about 45 minutes from me, and I am quite excited about that. We spent over 2 hours browsing, talking to the owners, and trying out different spinning wheels. I focused mainly on double treadle wheels, and found one I really like, so now I am hoping there's a new wheel in my future.
Another wheel we spent time looking at which I want to write about here, is the Road Bug wheel by Merlin Tree. The wheel is small enough to fit on the floorboards at your feet in a car. Now, I really think road trips are for knitting and have no desire for a wheel this small, but the wheel has some interesting design features that made it worth a few photos here. The design feature is the fact that it has no drive band and that it works by friction (thus creating the term friction wheel).
First a photo of the wheel, from one side showing the treadle, bobbin storage and fly wheel. The fact it is sitting on the table and the hands next to it should give you a bit of sense of the size of the entire wheel.

If you look closely on this side you can see the friction drive. A black roller sits at the end of the bobbin/flyer and that same roller also snugs up next to the fly wheel. As the spinner treadles, the fly wheel turns, turning the black roller, which then turns the bobbin. Pretty ingenious design!

It took my spinning friend Viki a bit of fiddling to get it spinning, but we had just put the wheel together (straight out of the box) and after getting the flyer mechanism placed correctly, as well as getting the oil worked in, she was soon spinning just fine on it. There's a bit of a trick to getting it to treadle just right, it really needs a toe/heel motion. Also if you sit the wheel on the floor, it is way below your waist. That's not really a problem since you can angle the yarn up to you as you spin, but does mean leaning over to do anything with the bobbin.
While she was playing with that, I test spun four other wheels, two Majacraft and two Kromski. Then there was all that browsing of fiber, books, and yarn to do. All too soon we had to head back home, promising ourselves another road trip soon.

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