Monday, January 11, 2010

First batch of spinning from the new roving

If you recall, the other day I got a shipment in the mail of mill end roving from the Sheep Shed Studio. This is lovely, high quality wool from the Brown Sheep company, that they couldn't use for some reason. I broke into the cream and brown roving, and quickly discovered why this particular batch wasn't up to being able to be used in the mill.

The roving was full of slubs of fibers, that weren't incorporated into the rest of the roving. If you tried to spin them, the yarn ended up lumpy bumpy, with weak spots. However, the slubs were really easy to strip out by hand, leaving me with quite a bit of usable spinning fiber. I'm sure it was not time and cost effective to do this in a factory setting, but a hand spinner had the advantage here.I'm also left with a bag full of slubs, which I'm planning on using in felting. They're just about the right size for the juggling balls and camera cases I make.

Once the slubs were stripped out, the fiber spun up beautifully!

After filling the bobbins with singles, I plied them together into a two ply knitting yarn. Then I reeled it off onto my weasel (antique clock reel) to measure how much yarn I ended up with. Each time around the arms of the weasel is 2 1/2 yards. I spun three skeins of yarn, for a total of 215 yards.

Look how straight the skein of yarn is hanging! That means I got the plies balanced perfectly in the finished yarn. This should knit up nicely with no biasing.

A before and after shot. The finished yarn almost always looks darker than the roving.

To wet finish my yarn, I let it soak in hot water for a little while. This allows the fibers to move into their finished position. Then I gently squeezed out the yarn...and smacked each skein a couple of times on the floor. This helps the fibers lock together and bloom.

My high tech drying station. The skeins had better stop dripping water before I need to take a shower tonight!

Once the yarn is dry, I'll take pictures of the finished product. The yarn is soft to the touch, and would make a lovely warm winter scarf. Or, with that cream heathered base, I bet it would dye up beautifully. Hmmm... Well, I'll pop it into the Etsy shop until I decide what to do with it.