Saturday, 31 July 2010

Beginner spinner

As I am picking over a variety of fleeces and processing them I decided it might be a good idea to learn how to spin so I can assess things from my potential customers point of view. It also means i could spin soem of my stuff when at shows. To knuckle down and learn I took on the challenge during the Ravelry 'Tour de Fleece' that involves individual spinners in a variety of teams taking on a spinning challenge during the time period of the Tour de France cycling race.
Initially OH selected a lightish spindle and this gave me these three attempts spun as singles that plyed via the andean technique where the singes are wrapped around the hand to give an 'andean bracelet' that can be spun into yarn. Due to the wrapping around you hand this is also infamously known as the 'bluefinger technique' !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A clear quality progression but acres of room for improvement.

I didn't feel to happy with the lighter spindle so I swapped it for a heavier Bosworth maxi. This felt a lot more comfy and gave thefollowing singles that andean plyed-into this mini-skein.

Feeling more confident I then tackled a 100g bump of downland roving from Spinning a yarn that OH had spare. The fibre was nice and grippy allowing me to spin reasonably fine. Here is an early piccy of the fibre on a the spindle.

However I really didn't fancy andean plying the quantity of yarn that I had spun so I used a piece of planed softwood to fashion a plying tool. It took three goes to get a shape that felt comfortable in the hand and held some test yarn. This unfortunatly meant the end result was a bit wonky. However it works !-Here are piccies of the tool before and after winding on the singles.

The tool could then be clamped to our open plan stairs leaving both hands free to draft and ply the singles into yarn. The end result was this 112yards from 63g (about aran weight).


Now to keep in practice so I don't lose the technique.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Bags and bags of fleeces

As I forgot to post the picture in the last blog here are the five fleeces I bought at Woolfest. They are from top clockwise: TeeswaterxShropshire, Portland, Soay, BowmontxShetland, Teeswater.

Yesterday we got a call from Flexigraze to say that we could pick up some more fleeces from the conservation grazing sheep. There were 8 more fleeces from rare breed sheep. They are from top left (clockwise) 2 Manx Loaghtan, LlanwenogxHebridean, grey Shetland, brown Shetland, black Shetland, 2 Manx Loaghtan.

It is a testament to the qualities of the rare breeds that the fleeces came from that all are very nice with no obvious tenderness or weak points. This is despite the fact that the sheep, other than regular health check ups and treatment, are basically left to get on with grazing on rough ground without any supplementary feeding, come rain, shine,or, in the case of the last winter, snow.
I now really must get my combs made so spent a lot of this afternoon grinding and polishing welding rods. Otherwise we are going to soon run out of loft space.