Thought I would talk a little bit about the spinning that has been occupying my wheel time of late. As I mentioned, I go to Vauxhall City Farm every Saturday morning to the spinning & dyeing group, and we are getting ready for the sheep & wool day on 14 June. I'm busy spinning up some fleece to make some handspun yarn - hopefully if I get it finished on time I might dye it and then knit it into something, or else it might just get sold on the day.
All the fleeces we use are organic, although this is mainly because of the fact that they come from small producers (and I don't think they are certified organic) it's not so much that we demand organic fleeces. Since we don't generally pay anything for them, it would be difficult to make demands...!
Anyway, the one I am using at the moment is from a Beaufort sheep. Apparently these are a mix of merino and shetland, and there are only two flocks in the UK at the moment. One of the other women in the Vauxhall group has already spun and washed a hank of yarn from this fleece; it looks so gorgeous and feels so soft that it is spurring me on to my goal!
I'm spinning it dirty, which has pros and cons. The main pro is that the lanolin leaves your hands feeling wonderfully moisturised afterwards. The main con is that I spend quite a lot of time picking bits of dirt and grass out of the fleece!
There is quite a lot of 'double cut' in the fleece too, so I am trying to pick it out as I go (you can see a small lump of it on the right hand side of this picture). Any bits that are left in, end up as lumps and bumps in the yarn when you spin it.
So, here it is on the carder, ready for preparation. All the dirty ends at the bottom, all the cut ends at the top.
Carded nice and smooth. Most of the dirt is now on the floor...
This is the bit I don't like, pulling the the fleece off the carders to make a rolag.
Spinning! It's a slow and laborious business but I'm enjoying it. Nearly filled the second bobbin, I'm now waiting for the extra bobbins I ordered from Scottish Fibres to turn up, before I can ply them (my third bobbin is already full of something else I'm spinning. Didn't plan this too well..!)
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