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, April 02, 2013

Shetland locks

I bought this shetland fleece specifically to lock wash and spin very thin yarn.  I didn't think too much about the yellow on the locks, because often the yellow washes out.  Here is a picture of the raw unwashed locks, as you can see, they really are not dirty or matted.

This is a picture of the locks getting basted into the nylon net 'bag' I make to hold locks in place while they are being washed.  I'll make three or four of these bags, which when folded over once lay flat in my kitchen sink.  I didn't weigh anything, on an average I get about 20 locks in a bag.

I took this picture to show there are parts of the fleece that I do not use for lock washing, pieces no longer in lock formation, or too small to really spin as a lock once it is washed.  This will be washed as I do any fleece and probably combed with my hand held combs.

This picture shows the washed and dry locks.  You can see the white is much whiter, but the yellow did not go away at all.  Although disappointed with this, I am not really surprised, once I thought about it.  In my experience, fleeces that had yellow on it that did wash away had a high lanolin content.  So the yellow yoking was laying on top of that lanolin and would wash away with it.  This shetland was very low lanolin.  I hardly felt any with handling the raw fleece.  So the yolking stained the fleece itself and will not wash away.

I took a photo of the single on the drop spindle, showing some of the yellow coloring.  I do not really consider this a problem, although I won't leave the yarn white.  I will plan to dye the yarn to cover the inconsistent natural color.  The yarn I'll make with these locks is definately worth that extra step, and I would not like a white shawl anyway, my intended project for the yarn.  If one was thinking of a baby shawl, then it would be worth looking for a white shetland with no yellow to it.

I sent most of the locks to a fiber exchange partner, but kept six that I combed out with a metal tooth dog grooming comb.  These I spun on my Bosworth mini drop spindle, shown above.  It was almost too lightweight but my next size up spindle would have been too heavy..  I found my arthritic fingers did not like that flicking motion one makes on the shaft to get it moving, and I went to the roll on the thigh which, once I got past the tendency to go into 'carreen' mode, actually worked really well.  Final details on the yarn:  (weight to follow, my scales battery is dead)  23 WPI 2 ply 5 yards sample.