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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Tiniest skein

Back when I was working with the Portland fiber, I plied the skein of worsted 2 ply and had some of the very thin single left over.  I took it off the bobbin wrapping it around my three fingers.  I laughed at the size of this tiny skein and decided to keep it.  I tied it and slipped it off my fingers, and it proceeded to crinkle up like a scrunchy.  So I just held it under warm water until it was saturated, squeezed it out and looked around for someplace to put it to dry.  Obviously I could have just laid it on a towel, but decided on this instead:

Really the best part of sliding it on a vitamin bottle cap was it was a perfect fit and effectively worked to block the skein.  Now my tiniest skein looks like this:

Just for comparison here's the whole Portland photo again

The large skein upper left is the 2 ply that my tiny skein didn't get in.

Art batt spinning

A break in the reviews of fleeces for podcast episode 106 of Yarnspinnerstales.  I had the day off and started one big spinning project and a smaller one that I finished a day later.  Since I finished the one yarn I did post it in the ravellenic finish line on Ravelry.

First I started a large batt of bamboo/silk blend called dreamcicle from Fluffington farms.  I loved the color and it is going to spin very nicely on my Ashford.  It was 4.6 oz and spinning thin, so it will take awhile to finish.

Here's the start of the bobbin

The smaller project was an art batt from Wild Hare Studio.  I spun the batt as a single and wanted a single to ply with it that was non descript so I chose a brown Salish fiber that I carded into batts and spun woolen.  So this first photo shows the art batt and the Salish fiber side by side.

My iPad camera just will not capture the brown of the Salish fiber it ends up on the orange side all the time.  These was so evident when I took photos of the two bobbins.  First the art batt single:
So nice and blue right?  Now the plied yarn:

Really in person, the eye sees so much more blue than the camera shows.  Here's a final shot of the yarn in a skein:

Final details:  47 yards 2 ply bulky.  The WPI is really hard to measure due to the thick and thin areas of the yarn.  It's nice and soft though!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Portland fleece review

This post shows the photos for the Yarnspinnerstales podcast episode 105.  For this British rare breed review I worked with Portland fleece sample.

This shows most of the sample with some of the locks.  The locks were mostly open with a wavy crimp and a very pleasing spring to the lock.

I did my usual review by dividing the sample in half and combing one half and carding the other half.

On the combs

Instead of using my hand cards I decided to card one big batt on my drum carder.

So this shows top on the left and the carded batt on the right.  This fiber loved either prep, I got very nice preps to spin either way.

In fact the top was so nice to spin I got a 40 WPI single.  The drum carded fiber also spun well in a long draw woolen spin.  I just loved spinning this fiber, either way.

I got a lot of yarn too, there was very little waste in this sample.  The top yarn is the worsted yarn, 40 WPI single, 20 WPI 2 ply in the 65 yard skein.  

The bottom yarn is the woolen spin.  The single was 17 WPI and the 2ply 13 WPI  in the 43 yard skein.

Two completely different but wonderful yarns from one very versatile fleece.

Whitefaced Woodland fleece review

This post relates to the Yarnspinnerstales podcast episode 104 where I continue my review of British rare breed sheep fleece samples.  This is the Whitefaced Woodland breed.

There were two types of unprepped fiber in the sample, where some had more intact locks.  When I saw this I decided to only pick open half the sample and comb locks for the other half.  Then I got even more involved and split each of the halves, so I ended up with four types of prep before spinning.

For the worsted yarns I prepped by combing locks and also by combing with my handheld combs and pulling top.

The top is on the top of this photo, with the combed lock under the tag.

For the woolen I chose the obvious hand carded prep and then also did a cloud prep, where the fiber is just picked open as much as possible before spinning.

The cloud is on the left.

Here are close up photos of the yarns and details. You can see the yarns go from thin to thick with the preps.

Top yarn was a single of 21WPI 2 ply of 12 WPI. The 18 yard skein shows it to be a very smooth yarn, good for high definition stitches in knitting or sock yarn.  The combed lock yarn was 17 WPI single, 12 WPI 2 ply 17 yard skein.

Both woolen yarns spun very thick and thin due to the prep.  The cloud single was 16 WPI and the 2 ply was 9 WPI in the 17 yard skein. The carded batt yarn was the worse because the fiber used for it was the worse of the sample.  So it spun very lumpy. The single was 18 WPI and the 2 ply was 10 WPI in the 18 yard skein.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Norfolk Horn fleece review

This is connected with the YST podcast episode 103.

For the 2014 ravellenic event which goes from start to finish of the Olympics, I have a group of different fibers selected to spin.  Some are put together as a review of British rare breeds of sheep.  Most of these samples were from one source, Hilltopclouds.uk.co

The first of these is the Norfolk Horn.  This white fleece sample was 100 grams of washed fiber.  There were two distinct areas in the sample, tight crispy locks and open locks. The first thing I did was pick open all the fiber.  Then I sample processed half of that with handheld combs and the other half with hand cards.  I found the fiber to be soft which surprised me although this is a down breed and many of those are soft.  It is a misconception sometimes that just because a breed of sheep is 'old' and not like our current breeding goals, that the fiber will be coarse.

This shows the unpicked fiber and several locks.

The top part of this photo are carded batts and the bottom is the pulled top.

There was a lot of waste making both preps, many short areas and neps that I tried to remove.

Top skein is the carded prep.  Single was 15 WPI and 2 ply 11 WPI and there are 46 yds.
Bottom skein is the combed prep, the single was 21 WPI and 2 ply 12 WPI. There is 21 yds.

With a good commercial preparation of this fiber I think this fleece would be suitable for just about any project a spinner would want to make with the yarn.

Finished merino tencel yarns

I started these yarns for the July 2012 Tour de fleece.  Both are merino tencel blends but from different sources.  The green is from Bonkers, the pink is Damselfly Fibers.  Both were 50/50 blends in 4 oz braids.

The green is 17 WPI 230 yds.  The pink is 18 WPI 225 yds.  The small skein is the two colors plied together to use up the last of what was on one bobbin of each color.  I love the combination skein, the colors look so good together, although I noticed on the photo, it can almost look brown, instead of the rose/green.  There is only 30 yds in that skein, I probably will have trouble putting it in with the other yarns in any project with so little yardage.  Right now I do not have a specific project planned although I will be looking at shawl patterns for the two yarns together.  The best satisfaction of this project was spinning the two yarns to compatable WPI over a long time of spinning, so I can use them together.