Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Category: Spin Page 42 of 69

Spinning Jill

I picked and washed about 8 oz of Jill.  The post wash and dry weight of Jill was just a hair over 5 oz.  That’s not a whole lot of loss.  I would have expected more loss due to grease for a merino.  But this is a pristine fleece.  I found very little vegetable matter in the fleece.  A few stray bits, but nothing else. A wee bit of 2nd cuts, again not anything really noticeable.

I’m flicking the locks and spinning directly from the locks.  After showing Judith last weekend what I’ve been doing, she immediately said that my Strauch Flicker was much too much for the delicate fleece. So, I pulled out the cat brush instead.  Much easier on my hands too!


So, there you see it. Very basic. A cat brush and a drop spindle.  (Don’t ask which spindle because I don’t know. I typically lose my tags as soon as I get fiber on the spindle, which means as soon as I get it in my hot little hands. They are meant to be used, n’est pas?) I can tell you that it’s very light. Less than 1/2 oz. (10 grams, perhaps?) What you see on the bobbin is my first spindle full. It has about 15 grams of singles on it. More than the weight of the spindle. But the spindle wasn’t even half full. But I will not be filling my spindle that much from now on. It really affected the grist of the single. I wasn’t able to draft as fine as I did at the beginning, when the spindle was still empty.  The single had to be a bit fatter to support the weight of the spindle toward the end.

I want consistency more than I want to try and pack as much as possible on the spindle. After all, it’s all about the process, not speed nor efficiency.

Oh, I wound off the single twice. Once on the first storage bobbin, and then onto a second one.

Why? Judith suggested spinning from the tip (as it grows from the sheep, or as if you are spinning right off of the sheep), and plying from the butt end.  If I only wound off once, then I would be plying from the same end that I spun from, the tip.  Twice, I get the butt end out and ready to ply. Make sense?  (And of course, we all do what Judith says, right?)

jill-in-a-bagAnd one last photo for you because it tickles me.

This is the plastic zipper cover that came with the flannel sheet set I bought for the Point Bonita retreat last week.  In it, the remainder of the washed locks that I have yet to flick.  Two neat little walls of locks, tip to butt.

I don’t know why it pleases me, but it does. The locks were a bit messy after they came out of the wash and dryer, so I gently pulled them apart. Of course, at that point, I loathed to put them back higgledy-piggledy. And so, here we are.

Jill in a bag.

Meet Jill

A couple of weekends ago, I ransacked my garage for the lamb fleece. I found it. It’s a California Red lamb fleece. While it’s beautiful, it’s also not for next to skin wear that I would want for the scarf project.

A quick call to Kathleen convinced me that there was no hope for it. I needed to buy another fleece. The problem? It’s too early in the season for 2009 fleeces. Most small producers are sold out of 2008 fleeces. Those that still have inventory are likely to have the dregs. What to do?

Janet Heppler of Nebo-Rock Textiles (no website) to the rescue. I have purchased several fleeces from Janet in the past. Her fleeces are absolutely gorgeous. I have never seen a bad fleece from her. And she has a barn full of them.  There are very few people that I would buy fleeces from, sight unseen. Janet is one of them. I tell her exactly what I’m looking for; she’ll find something that absolutely meets my needs.

I had to sit on my hands for a few days because she was out of town — I assume for ASCH. When we finally talked, I asked for a smallish colored fleece.  She provides.

Here’s Jill.  A light moorit fleece. All 6 gorgeous pounds of her.

moorit-jill-locksHer staple length comes in just a hair over 3″.  Above the ruler is a lock as it came off the fleece.  The bottom is a lock that I did a quick kitchen-sink-swish ™ with hot tap water and some dish soap.  She’s a beautiful taupe color and wonderfully soft.  I can’t wait to play with her.

2 weeks of the contest have come and gone and I’ve only just received the raw fleece. I’ve been day dreaming about the scarf pattern. I think I have a small glimmer of an idea. More paper, pen, and swatching required.

What about the California Red lamb fleece? I’ve got half of it washed. I flick carded some of it using the tap and brush method.  The tap opened up the locks, and the brush separated the guard hair from the fleece.  If I had only tapped, I would have been left with the scratchy guard hair in the final yarn.

The downside? The guard hair is where the red in the California Red are located. I’m now left with a cream colored fiber instead of rosy tinged fiber.  One or the other. You have to choose.  I chose no-itchiness over color.

ca-red-locksClockwise from top left:

  1. Unwashed lock
  2. Washed lock
  3. Drecks from the flick carder; mostly guard hair and some second cuts
  4. Beautiful creamy fiber after flick carding
  5. (center) a sample spun on my little Golding spindle

I think this will be perfect for a small woven lap blanket.

Not all of the 2 weeks was wasted. I’ve found that washing the fleece by locks and flick carding wasn’t so onerous after all.  And with the lock structure intact, I can spin from the lock for a true worsted yarn. That is, if I can prevent laziness and impatience from over taking me and go back to my semi-long draw.

It just followed me home


Rick Reeves Frame Wheel, in walnut.


I haven’t seen any like this one before, where in place of dowel joinery, this has knobs.  The knobs can be unscrewed and the wheel can be taken apart.  I’ve taken all the knobs off, not to take the wheel apart, but to clean and oil/wax the parts underneath.

I bought it from someone in my guild, who purchased this wheel from Rick Reeves when she was still living in the midwest back in the 70s.  However, she never actually spun on it.  I’ve been spending the past few days breaking the wheel in.

Page 42 of 69

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