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Tuesday, August 5

And the Wheel Keeps on Turning, Turning...Summer Stash Bustin'!

No knitting. No swatching. No tea reviews. In the last week I've just been spinning. Spinning up a storm! I wrote a couple posts ago about this being the Summer of Stash Busting--knitting with yarns that I have stock-piled, and spinning yarn out of the stash of rovings and batts (rectangular sections of carded fiber).

Over the last week I spun up 600 yards (4.75 oz) of Lincoln/silk blend roving from something I bought way back at SOAR at Smuggler's Notch, Vermont in 1996; 475 yards (3.1 oz) of Cormo almost-lace my friend Joanne at Pine Ledge Studio carded with perfection for me over 8 years ago; 380 yards (4.1 oz) of alpaca/merino/silk roving from the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat in Easton, New York in May; and 255 yards (3 oz) of dark brown alpaca from my friend Maple at North Star Alpacas in Michigan.

First four pics are of the Lincoln/silk blend...
click on for larger view...

top pic is of the attenuated fiber
next pic is of the first attempt balled up
third pic is a close up of the second attempt of lace, next to the control lace yarn
last pic of this project is of the finished skein

The Lincoln/silk blend was fun at times to spin. I have oodles of it, about 12 oz, and spun up the best of it in this skein. I had to pre-draft it (attenuate it to make it easier to spin), as it was sitting around in a bag in our fiber room for years, which compacted the fiber in places. Lincoln is a long, shiny, hairy sheep fiber, very durable and strong, but not too soft. The silk blended in with it adds more sheen and shine, and some softness. My pile of this was a mixture of part rovings, which were kind of snarly (from the Lincoln), and some larger sections that I think were "clouds" which is kind of like a batt, but thinner.

I spun up about an ounce of the stuff, trying to achieve lace-weight yarn, but it was late at night and my spinning got worse as the night went on. I plied it from a single that I balled up on my ball winder, using the end from the center of the ball and the end from the outside of the ball to yield a two-ply. I washed it up, let it dry overnight. See the pic of it at the right. It's about twice as thick as my true lace sample I had hanging from my wheel, so I spent the second night spinning up another 4.75 oz onto two bobbins.

My second attempt (the third pic) was closer to the true lace, but I'm pretty happy with it, as the fiber just got more wiry the thinner I spun it. I could have spun it a bit thinner, but I think it would have been termed "iron yarn" at that point!

The second spinning project was the Cormo, a supersoft sheepwool, that I think is 3/4 Merino, which is the softest sheep fiber. Cormo is typically white, and yields a brilliantly white yarn, although I believe there are now black and possibly gray Cormo sheep. I think that it is spongier than Merino, is extremely soft and is great for against-the-skin garments, but like Merino, it also felts easily.

Pics at right: first one is of the white Cormo batt
Second one is a shot of the attenuated fiber

Third pic is a shot of the spinning
Fourth pic in this group is of the two skeins of Cormo yarn


The third spinning project was the alpaca/merino/silk roving I got at the Knitter's Retreat, and was really fun and easy to spin. It is a luscious yarn, and I can't wait to knit it up! Maybe socks...

The dark alpaca from Maple in Michigan was fun, easy, and quick to spin up. I spun it all up last night, plied it today, and washed/soaked it and it's drying right now. The true weight of the skein may be a little lighter, as it is still slightly damp. I absolutely love the dark color of it, I believe it is from an alpaca named Polaris--I'll have to check!

More later! Have fun...


Marianne said...

How I love this post. ok, I won't count the ways but I've only begun with the spinning and have found the past 2 weeks incredibly enlightening and entertaining and I'm actually getting real yarn now!
Your handspun is SO wonderful, and I really enjoy reading about the different breeds of fibre.
The first fibre I spun that I 'got it' on was some Romney. Now I just want more of it :^)

Joansie said...

Wow, you really did get a lot of spinning done. I love Cormo. I was first introduced to it at the Sheep and Wool Festival last year. Do you go to that one?

Jason said...

I want to spin like you one day! Fast and beautiful! So fine in many ways. My next goal is to be comfortable with long draw. I will have to dig in for suitable fiber. Wait. I think the dyed BFL maybe OK. Yay!

Alpaca Granny said...

Beautiful spinning, Chris!
You are awesome.....