02 April 2012

Handspinning Wool

While waiting for my fleece to dry from its washing, I discovered a few pre-washed rolags I'd made when trying out my new wool carders.  I had some time to sit and decided I might as well give my new Turkish drop spindle a try (do I sound like an old lady yet?  Jack sure thinks so, especially when I talk about cross stitching or knitting).

The idea is simple enough.  After the wool is washed, carded (basically combed to lie in the same direction), it is rolled into wispy rolags and is ready for spinning.  A leader piece of wool is tied to the shaft, wrapped around the whorl then the spindle is gently twisted clockwise.
While the wool is being twirled into thread, the wool rolag is pinched and pulled down into the yarn.  When enough yarn has formed, it is wrapped systematically around the shafts and the process begins again.

















Easy enough?

Certainly sounds uncomplicated but there's surprisingly a lot to keep track of, especially when the girls try desperately to "help."  After about four rolags, the yarn started looking more like yarn.  The trick is to get it all a consistent thickness.  It takes very few fibers to produce an average thickness yarn.
I sent a photo to my mother and she remarked it was very rustic and would make a nice warm hat.  I can't disagree but I think my first attempt at spinning yarn from unwashed smelly, dirty ram's wool turned out decently.  With washed, dyed wool and a bit more practice, it can only get better.

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