Monday, June 11, 2007

First wool: I SPUN IT!

In this post we meet the 1st wool. learn how I did it and what I think about the information out there on processing wool-simply put: us newbies need help!

LOOK MOMMIE! I DID IT! My first little cake of homespun!

It's kinda shy, a little embarrassed. She's over spun in most places and not even spun in some. [I don't get it]. But maybe if we promise not to laugh or make fun of her she will come out of the shadows and into the light.

Come on little wool. We promise not to laugh. You look so cute, all wrapped up in your little cake. Come on.....that's right.......

There you are! aren't you sweet!

I think that is all we are going to get from her at the moment. If you click on her you will get a good close up. You will notice there is still some VM caught in there. I just couldn't get it all out with the carding and couldn't wait until I managed to get combs from who-knows-where.

I spun it on a spindle I made from a knitting needle and a CD. I got the plan for that from 'Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning' by Judith MacKenzie McCuin.
I like the book. I like pictures. What I don't like is that Judith shows you how to make a spindle but then doesn't actually show using it. There are pictures about using a spindle just not the one homemade. For some reason that really bugged me. Like the instructions weren't complete.

The other thing that bugs me is that there are no step-by-step instructions that show how to take fleece from sheep to knitting needles. The instructions are there but they are not connected. This is a complaint I have across the board. I could not find step-by-step instructions anywhere. You can find instructions on washing, combing, carding, spinning and whatever else but nothing that said what comes next. Like: step 1) wash the fleece like this...... 2) card.... 3) comb..... 4) spin..... or whatever. I had to do a lot of reading and research to find out what the different steps were and then figure out what order they go in. I am still not sure I have it right. It seems no one out there has thought that there are those of us who know literally nothing about it and need to be held by the hand and taken through the step-by-step procedure.

I had washed and carded until I was sick of it and still had VM. There must be something else. The closest I came to a step-by-step procedure was in the files of the Spin List at yahoo groups. The file is called "Fleece to Yarn". 'Hurray!' I thought, "Finally I can find out what to do after I card". I read step one about skirting - check - , step two is washing, - check - , step 3 is dying, will do that later, this fleece still has VM!, step 4: comb, card or what about them? That's it. This is the step I have all the questions about. No where can I find why you would do one over the other, what the benefits of each one are. What my next step should be.

I got an answer on youtube. Yah, no kidding. Rexenne shows how to use combs
here . She talks about how it can help remove VM and separate out the short fibers and leave you with only the long fibers. Eureka! The info I have been looking for. Because the sheep was sheered by ametures short fibers [second cuts] are an issue. OK, I need combs....and a ditz, finally saw what your supposed to do with that too. Yes, I know all this info is in the book and elsewhere but this was the 1st time i saw anything about combing helping to remove VM and that it is this process that makes those nice, big, fluffy balls of ready-to-spin fiber you see in the store AND online and IN THE BOOK! CONNECTION COMPLETE!

Maybe its because I am a visual learner I had a hard time connecting the dots or maybe this really is a short coming in the spinning community. It seems everyone who puts fiber and spinning info out there assumes their reader has at least some kind of basic knowledge to start with. Well I had none! I did A LOT of research and reading to obtain the knowledge that I have now. I just wish I could have received it in all one go from somewhere.

Now I want to test dye my little test cake. Then I'll test knit it into a swatch and keep it as a reminder of my beginnings because this is NOT the end. There will be more. I have to get better at this and put to good use all the knowledge I have.


Ann-Marie said...

yarn cake: "welcome to the world"

i hear ya--i have googled and read, and scoured blogs and looked at books but i have not found any tutorials on how to do everything.
i belong to a spinning guild--and they are still not sharing all the info.
some want me to take lessons, that costs $$$.
i just want to know what to do with my fleece.
one lady has promised to show me, and soon, so i will share what i learn (maybe within the next month if i can remind her often enough!!!)
yeah--i thought knitting was additcive--the dyeing and spinning thing--just adds to it.

Fyberduck said...

Hi, yarn cake!

I think she's a lovely first ball of handspun. And I completely agree with the lack of information available, or at least in different formats. The spinners aren't quite as techy as the knitters yet.

Shannon said...

WHOOO HOOO, great looking first start. Welcome little yarn cake! I had to do a lot of research to teach myself how to comb and card and I'm still a bit akward with it but the best thing to improve... practice!! and you are doing GREAT!

Anonymous said...

Way to Go! It looks like youa re right on track with spinning.

quantumtea said...

A most excellent yarn cake, worth saving for posterity.

I did the picot edge for my monkey socks too and it does look rather nifty.


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