Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tour de Fleece 2013 - Stage 2

I've been scouring the house seeking my spare Ashford bobbins.  I know they are around here somewhere, but all I can find is the one lonely bobbin sitting on the wheel, fastly filling up with alpaca.  You think that would teach me to clean up the house... but you would be wrong.

So for the most part I've been focusing on my spindles.  The nice things about these is that they travel everywhere.  I in-hand spindle in the car, drop spindle in the shop - which unfortunately, I did quite literally several times - and I can spindle while I do just about anything.

Although there is one major drawback to modern day spindling, where to stash the fibre while you are spinning it.  Wrapping it around your wrist is all well and good, on a cold day, but it tangles.  No matter what I do, the fibre just gets muddled, which makes it more difficult to spin.  So I suspect a distaff is high up on my list of things to make this summer.

Something like this would be nice, complete with giant hen:

In fact, I'm quite tempted to try my hand at some medieval spindle reproduction.

Washing fleece outside proved to be challenging today with the wind kicking up and blowing out the portable stove I was using to heat the water.  More and more, I'm beginning to shy away from the lambswool and thinking of washing up the rest of my jacob fleeces instead.

Carding went better.  I decided to spin the alpaca fibre without washing it.  Some people are dead set against this, and I agree their objections have some merit.  But for me, I'm careful how I prepare the fibre for spinning, and what small amount of grit that is left in the fibre when it's transformed into yarn doesn't cause any significant difference in how the finished object wears.  But I wouldn't do this with white alpaca, oh no.  I much prefer to clean that first before spinning, otherwise the finished yarn doesn't have the luster it should.

A few spindles, at the top is the alpaca fibre carded and twisted into top knots.  The white fibre is the lambswool in the grease.  The spun yarns are samples of Icelandic lambswool, flax and alpaca.  The grey fibre on the spindle is Romney.

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