Friday, 26 June 2009

Carding the fleece and spinning

It's been a while since you've heard anything about the fleece I was washing so I thought I'd give you a little update on its progress. Some of the fleece has been cleared of all the little twigs and bits that didn't come out during the washing stage but it's such a long, boring process that I'm breaking it up into stages:-) So I started to card the smaller amount of totally clean fleece into rolags - small manageable rolls of prepared fibre - ready for spinning. The idea is to get all the fibres evenly carded in the same direction so when you are spinning it makes it easy to pull out and create an evenly spun thread.

There we are, nice rolags in a row. I don't make them too big or it gets a bit unwieldy on the carders. Better to have lots of small evenly carded ones:-) I've been doing this outside as the weather has been lovely today but after a while I got a bit too hot so I took my little pile of rolags inside and decided to see just how much thread they would make.

This is how much 3 rolags made - not bad. I thought it would take me a little bit of practice to get an even thin yarn but the problem was more spinning too thin! I tended only to get uneven lumps when I had missed a lump in carding so its more the carding technique at fault than the spinning, I'm glad to say. I played around with the tension on my wheel and the more pull I gave it the more likely my overly fine yarn would snap. So I'll stick to a lot of treadling for now until I feel more proficient. As long as I get enough spin in so it doesn't unravel when I ply.....

10 Rolags in and I'm on a roll! My spinning technique is getting better - more even but also generally thinner than when I started. I will have to practice deliberately trying to achieve specific thicknesses of yarn - lace, fingering, DK, aran weight etc. I think I'm thinking once this is plied then it will be twice as thick so don't make the single too thick but at this rate it won't be thick enough!!

The other problem I was having was the fleece was a bit sticky. I read that this is a problem when too much lanolin stays in the fleece so it looks like either using salt doesn't work or I didn't use enough. I deliberately didn't de-grease the fleece as the lanolin was meant to make spinning easier. So either I de-grease the remainder of the undyed fleece and spin it, or I de-grease and dye it now before spinning. I'm leaning towards the dyeing myself as spinning off-white is getting a bit monotonous!! Imagine selecting all the subtle colour variations to spin together! A colour paradise!!

But I am already prepared:-) I ordered some Synthraopol (de-greaser) from DT Craft and Design a few days ago and it fortuitously arrived this morning. Perfect timing, I think.

It may take a few days for me to get the fleece de-greased and dried, dyed and steamed but watch this space:-)

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Hello and thanks for stopping by. Do stay a while and visit. Please do leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you and be inspired by all your blogs out there too:-) elaine xx


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