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

Month: December 2010


No Love Here

For over two years now, I’ve been working on a spindle project as part of my travel kit. It often gets left behind when I travel because it ceased to be fun. I couldn’t remember why, since it’s been sitting there pouting for so long.

The plan was to spin a 2 ply yarn, one ply will be a hand painted silk seen here (hmm, this post says 3 years ago), the other will be some baby camel down that I picked up somewhere along the way. Still is. That hasn’t changed.

Baby Camel Down

I love spinning silk, so that wasn’t the problem. The problem is that I didn’t enjoy spinning the the baby camel down. I had planned to spin the entire project on the top whorl spindle (bottom right), but spinning the camel just wasn’t fun. Not impossible, just not enjoyable. I spun one spindle-full on it (paper quill next to the spindle) and stopped.

Fast forward 2 years. Last week, I decided to have another go at it. After all, I have Stephenie Gaustad‘s cotton spinning class behind me. The baby camel staple length is about the same as the cotton, so, why not? Nope. The top whorl drop spindle was still a pain in the tush. I switched to a supported spindle that I made* this summer from a stone bead I found in Anacortes.

Unfortunately, I was having problems drafting the baby camel down top. I tried it straight from the top, fluffed up, but it was still a struggle. It was better when I used my Strauch cotton/fur hand cards to create little rolags, but still not great. I needed more twist and I was too impatient to twirl, twirl, and more twirl.

This weekend, I finally caved in. I pulled my Bosworth Book Charkha out. The experience is much more enjoyable. The singles are more consistent and finer, both with the top and with the rolags. As soon as I finish spinning the rolags I already prepared, I will spin the rest of the fluff directly from the top.

As you can tell, I gave up on the idea of a completely spindle spun project. But no matter, I just want this done! The silk will still be spun on the top whorl spindle. I am more than 50% finished with those. When I get too frustrated with the camel, I switch over to the silk to work the stress out. <grin>

Needless to say, camel will be in my “been there, done that; don’t want to go back” category.

* Stone bead, rubber grommet, chopstick. I found these neat chopsticks at Daiso. It is tapered to nearly the top, and then it reverses the taper to another point. This makes it very adjustable to nearly any size bead. The points on both ends allowed me to make a very simple support spindle without any additional work.

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