Friday, 3 February 2012

Starting as I mean to go on

I'm starting the year off by recording a completed project.  An inconsistently spun skein of oatmeal coloured yarn--how exciting.  Okay, the finished product isn't exactly scintillating, but did I ever learn a lot while getting to this point.  First, I learned that Cormo is a very delicate fibre.  I had assumed that it would need careful processing, much like Merino.  I was wrong--compared to Cormo, Merino  is indestructible. 

I began by carefully washing a small amount of raw fleece.  Obviously, I wasn't careful enough.  Even with no agitation and meticulous temperature control, the locks tangled and matted. I tried hand teasing and gently carding with very unsatisfactory results.  I tried putting some of them through the picker--even worse.  Then I tried my mini combs, and met with a bit of success.   At least it was spinnable.  The next step was to try spinning directly from the combs without first drawing off the combed fibre into a top.  This was how I finally managed to salvage the fibre--or at least about half of it.  Even so, it's neppy and very inconsistent.  Not at all the smooth, fine handspun I'm used to producing.  On the other hand, it definitely looks handspun.  And, it's incredibly elastic.  You'd think that it contained lycra.  I don't know if this skein will ever be used for anything, but I'm looking forward to applying all that I've learned to the next batch I process. 

As for the waste fibre, it turns out not to have been wasted after all.  I've been meaning to make some felted balls to use as cores when winding the spun thread off a handspindle.  Starting those balls without using a core or some sort has become much more difficult as my hands get older.  This should solve that problem.

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