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

Month: December 2006


I started spinning on my new Matchless this past weekend. No more clunking and rattling that I experienced with my old Matchless. Ah…peace and quiet. Except…wait! Why isn’t it drawing in? No matter how I adjust the scotch tension, it sometimes just refused to draw in. It felt as if some fiber was caught somewhere, and the twist doesn’t travel all the way to my drafting triangle. But it doesn’t happen all the time.

More research … I notice that this only happens when I use the hooks on the left side of the flyer, but doesn’t happen when I use the hooks on the right. I don’t see anything specifically, so … I think there is a burr in the orifice that only occurs when the yarn is drawing in from the left side of the orifice. My fingers are too fat to find the burr.


Then I remembered a tip that Judith showed me — lacing the yarn from side to side. This now has the yarn traveling through the orifice at the correct angle.

Lacing is useful when you are spinning a really fine yarn, and you want to reduce the take up. Why would you want to reduce the lace up? Reducing the take up allows you more time to put the twist that you need for a really fine yarn before the yarn winds on.

Lacing only works for spinning wheels whose hooks are on the same face of the flyer, such as the Majacrafts. This doesn’t work on the Ashford wheels, unless you add some more cup hooks on the flyer.

For now? I don’t need the extra time for the reason stated above. I need the extra time until weekend, when I can dig in the garage for my set of fine metal files and fix that darn burr.

Spinning Batts

After pulling out my haul on Sunday, I suddenly couldn’t resist the bright, cheery, fluffy, not to mention Christmas-y, corriedale batts from Grafton Fibers. I had purchased 2 red batts. The observant amongst you will have noticed that the batts are different. They had the same red base, but one had been carded with black, and the other a sunny orange. My plan was to spin each as a single and ply them together.

The question was, how to I approach this vision of loveliness? I unrolled the snail (but not the rolag), and saw that there was a color progression from one end of the rolag to the other. I wanted to preserve the color progression.

rolagstripped battI started to attenuate the rolag so I can spin off one end. But I wasn’t getting as much control over the fiber as I wished, and I was afraid that I was going to muddy the progression of colors. That I definitely didn’t want.

So, I unrolled the rolag and stripped the batt into a single long strip of roving. (See diagram at right) I carefully tore into the batt along the dotted lines to make a continuous strip.

Not only did this provide me with a long continuous strip of roving that preserved my color progression, but this also kept the fibers mostly aligned for a semi-worsted yarn. The rolag would have resulted in a pure woolen yarn.

I didn’t measure the widths of my strips, but just swagged it. If you want really even roving, you would want to pull it from a diz. For large batts like this, I usually make a really thick roving by pulling it through the hole in a CD. Again, by turning at each edge, you can get a long continuous roving.

I didn’t do that this time. I was too impatient. I wanted to spin RIGHT NOW. So, I spun both batts on my Matchless, and plied them up on Sunday night. Approximately 350 yards of beautiful red dk/worsted weight yarn. I even washed it to set the twist.

All before I went to bed on Sunday night. I paid for it on Monday morning. I was so groggy in the morning that I accidentally washed my hair with body wash instead of shampoo. Then I couldn’t understand why it was taking me so long to rinse the shampoo out. It just kept getting more and more sudsy. Threw my entire day off, I assure you.

But now, I get to figure out a scarf pattern for this lovely red yarn.


By special request from Ramona, I have created a collage for you.

SOAR Haul Collage

Starting from top left, going clockwise:

  1. “Mayan Chocolate Cashmere” (50/30/20 Merino/Alpaca/Cashmere) from Lambspun. 6 bumps. Approx. 16 oz.
  2. “Blended Rolls” (50/50 Mohair/Cormo) in “cool” colorway. I can’t remember the vendor, but the rolags are carefully prepared so that if you draft evenly from the end of the rolag, you will get precise repeats. When plied, they will match up almost 100%. 2 pouches. In theory, enough for a vest or sweater.
  3. “Rocky Mountain High” (Polwarth) from Rovings. A bag. I have no idea how much is in the bag.
  4. Lavender Bunny Balls from Elemental Affects. 6 bumps. I think they were 4 oz each. Enough for a vest.
  5. “Salt Lake” (Polwarth) from Rovings. A bag. Again, I have no idea how much is in the bag. I told myself that if it was bag was still there at the end of the weekend, I would take it home. It came home with me. Laura took the other bag of Salt Lake home. It’ll be interesting to see how we each work it up.
  6. “One of a Kind” (Polwarth) from Rovings. Yet another bag. This was the first one I picked up. I love the greens. I’m in a green rut these days.
  7. “Deep Waters, Dark Woods” SOAR 2006 Blend from Crosspatch Creations. Sold only through Carolina Homespun. 2 pouches.
  8. 2 red Corriedale batts from Grafton Fibers. Purchased from Carolina Homespun.
  9. [center] “Spritzy Spruce” (80/20 Wool/Silk) from Lambspun. 4 oz. I told you I was stuck on greens.

Not pictured:

  • my new replacement Schacht Matchless (you all know what it looks like *)
  • my new Lendrum double treadle (again, you know what it looks like *)
  • 3 wood naalbinding needle (I’ll show these when I start a project **)
  • 1 small hand held weaving frame (I’ll show this when I start a project **)

* If you don’t, you know how to Google, right?

** I will not promise when the said project will actually happen. It’ll happen when it happens.

There. I did say it was conspicuous consumption, didn’t I? It’s quite embarrassing the amount I came home with.

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