Monday, January 16, 2012

Shetland fleece or dust bunnies?

Dust bunnies?

Although it is a possibility, especially if I were to sweep in the studio, these are not ferocious dustbunnies massing for an attack, but "rolags" from two unknown sheep fleeces. When I was at the spinning retreat in PEI two years ago there was a huge box of donations of fleece and fibres that people could dip into and make crazy batts to spin from. There was a bunch of grey curly bits and some dark grey crimpy bits, both of which I pulled out and stuck in my bag.

My daughter was over helping me sort out my I-tunes music and while she was doing that, I decided to card these and see what would happen. I used the hand carders, placing bits of fleece on the teeth.

Then, the second comb is flicked through the bits and the fibres start to open up. This has to be done a time or two more, depending on how easily the fibres open. The light grey fibres were very curly and greasy, meaning that they had not been well washed, if at all. The dark grey was like combing through a baby's hair, very easy. (Unless you are my daughter who refused to let anyone but her grandmother comb her hair until she was 15)

Eventually I had combed everything and the results were a small pile of the dark grey and a larger pile of the light grey.

The problems with my I-tunes were not substantial but took a lot of waiting around for the music files to move around. While Phoebe and I were waiting, discussing the problems of love and prom dress hemlines, I managed to spin up the dark grey. I think it is a Shetland wool, due to watching someone a few days ago spin a Shetland. She was spinning a tighter yarn, I opted for a slightly more open yarn, meaning it will hopefully be warmer with the increased air space between fibres. Did you know that? The softer or loftier your yarn is, the more air is between the fibres and therefore the better the insulating opportunities.

This is the final yarn from the light grey, also spun as openly as I could manage. Phoebe had long gone from the house by then and it took about 3 hours to spin. I had lanolin all over my hands and jeans from the unwashed state of the rolags. This fleece has been washed in a light detergent and dried as a skein. There is a surprising amount from all those dusty bunnies that you saw at the top of the post. I managed to get 140 metres out of them all. That means a very nice scarf is possible.

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