Thing-a-Week #38

Continuing on from last week, I spun up the fiber I prepared for last week’s Thing. I wanted to do a comparison of woolen vs. worsted spinning, hence the separate prep of batt and sliver. Woolen is on the left and worsted is on the right:

Thing a Week #38: Handspun

What you’re seeing here is a true woolen yarn and a true worsted yarn. The woolen was spun from a carded batt using the long-draw technique, which results in an airy, warm yarn. The worsted was spun from combed sliver using an “inch-worm” techique, which results in a smoother, stronger yarn. The difference is hard to see, however: the CVM fiber I’m using is really probably more suited to the woolen technique and never got really smooth. Still, you can see in the following closeup that the right sample (worsted) is slightly smoother than the left (woolen):

Thing a Week #38: Handspun

Both samples are really springy and softer than I expected. It was an interesting experiment. And I still have several pounds of the CVM left!

Thing-a-Week #37

Back in September I bought 3 CVM fleeces from a farm up north: one white and two variegated. I did actually manage to wash two of them within weeks of getting them (which, come to think of it, could’ve each been a Thing, had I been doing Things at the time), and this week I started working with one of them. Here’s it is, a varigated CVM from an animal named Buster Ram:

CVM fleece - "Buster Ram"

I decided to do both carded and combed samples, to see how the wool behaves when spun. Here is some of the wool loaded on my English combs. To the left is my drum carder, which I had just used to make a batt. In the bin are the locks I was working with.

Combing CVM fleece

Hand carding and combing can actually be quite time-consuming. By the end of this excercise I had only two ounces of fiber to play with, one in a carded batt and one in several combed slivers. The fiber is a bit neppy, on account of me starting with some of the back and neck fleece, which tends to be somewhat tender and short. We’ll just call it rustic. The staples themselves went from dove gray at the cut end through white to cream at the tips, resulting in a light tan color overall when blended. It’s really very nice.

Thing a Week #37: Fiber

I had hoped to finish this week’s Thing by spinning these, going woolen with the batt and worsted with the sliver (two methods of spinning that result in different finished yarns), but I ran out of time. That just leaves me more to do next week!

Thing-a-Week #11

It was gorgeous this weekend so I decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do as soon as the weather got nice: scour some fleece. I know how to have a good time, don’t I?

This fleece is a Cheviot / Clun Forest cross that I bought for cheap from Craigslist in March. It was pretty dirty, so I gave it several cold water soaks outside in a bin before scouring. Then I scoured it in my washer with some Seventh Generation dish soap. Two washes and three rinses later, I ended up with this:

Thing a Week #11: Cheviot / Clun Forest Fleece

The tips are still pretty crusty. I’ll have to flick them to see if the dirt comes out; otherwise I might have to start trimming. The locks seem sound, soft, and springy, so I should be able to get some nice fiber out of it. I’ll know more when it’s finished drying!

Isn’t she lovely

Isn’t she beautiful…

Romney handspun

I’ve been playing around with that Romney fleece I got late last year. I’ve been doing things here and there since I washed it: I first hand-carded some of it into rolags and spun some test yarn, and more recently I scored a Pat Green drum carder on Craigslist and carded some of the fleece for real.

Pat Green Drum Carder Romney batt

I’ll need some more practice, I think, but I’m pleased with what I’ve done so far. This yarn is around aran to bulky weight, a little thick and thin, very light and lofty. It’s only an ounce and three-quarters, so I’ll have to card and spin up more if I expect to make anything out of it. Still, it’s a start!

Romney handspun

And, over the holidays, I finally broke out the dyes I bought a while ago and dyed up seven 4-ounce batches of fleece in various colors. These were dyed in a crockpot using Dharma dyes.

Dyed Romney fleece

I’ll be carding these as well, and hope to come up with some really pretty batts. Wish me luck!

Fun with fleece

So, if you remember from my last post, I bought 5 lbs of raw Romney wool off of Craigslist. Last week, I separated the fleece into five piles, approx 1 lb each. This weekend I washed 2 lbs. of it, using lingerie bags and our washing machine. This is actually the dirtiest two sections of the fleece. I figure I can practice on this and save the good stuff for last. :)

Romney fleece

I flicked the tips before putting them in the bags, because during a test run of 1 lb. last weekend, the tips didn’t seem to wash well.

Romney fleece

To wash, I let it soak for 30 minutes in hot water and Dawn dishwashing detergent in my washing machine, spun it dry, then did it again. To rinse, I soaked it for 20 minutes in plain warm water, spun it dry, then did it again.

Romney fleece

After all the water was spun out, I took it upstairs and laid it out on a sweater drying rack. The picture only shows a pound (well, less now that the dirt and lanolin is washed out). The other bundle is drying in a kid’s toy net hanging under my table.

Romney fleece

The fleece got a really nice white, though some of the tips are a little yellow. That should blend fine when it’s carded, as the wool itself is undamaged. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to dye this batch or just try spinning it undyed. We’ll see!

I’ve gone off the deep end

Well, as if all this spinning and knitting isn’t enough, I decided I’m going to try processing some raw fleece. I know, what’s wrong with me? I can barely keep up with the hobbies I have!

Anyway, I scored about 5 lbs of very clean Romney fleece this week on Craigslist. The sheep’s name is Valerie, and the fleece was taken this year. It was covered, so veggie matter is minimal, and already skirted and sorted. It looks like it’ll be a lovely creamy white after it’s clean.

Romney fleece

Speaking of cleaning, that’s next. That’ll be an adventure as well. It has a lot of lanolin in it, so it smells very sheepy! After I wash it, I’ll need to card it, and spin. I might try dyeing some of it too. Wish me luck!