I was lucky to have acquired a pre-loved second spinning wheel from a friend of my mum's (it seems I have a knack for acquiring pre-loved seconds!). It's no fancy wheel but a workhorse it is and I've discovered it's ideal for spinning the dusty alpaca fleece outside and not dirtying up my special 'inside' wheel...
It's a bit rickety but it does the job and I feel so much better spinning this fibre outside as it really is so dusty. Even with beating and whacking, grass seed picking (although hopefully not too much!) and shaking it's a dusty job. I've been wearing an apron and picking the grass seeds out as I go as I can't stand the thought of washing all of those bags of fleece, inevitably felting them only to comb and card them all thoroughly before spinning! I'm lazy, I know, but life's too short to be painfully fastidious about fibre preparation..
|Alpaca as it comes, out of the bag..pretty much straight of the animals back. So soft!|
It has been spinning up like this:
I also delved under the bed and retrieved the enormous bag of sheep fleece I had stored there. It is so meditative to sit and comb small tufts to then spin straight away..
...in the grease. Yes, another dirty job but at least I can spin this fibre inside. It's just my hands that end up greasy (and wonderfully soft!). Again, the lazy spinner in action...
I like washing the grease out after the strands have been plied together and seeing the twist set in the yarn, plus I actually think spinning 'in the grease' helps me to achieve a finer strand..
The bags from my purchasing over the weekend were popped open to reveal a luxurious blend of fibers within. I'm so looking forward to getting these on the wheel..
|Merino, alpaca & silk blend.|
I am quite fond of the red sliver and the blue one I have in mind for a gift to a friend. At least this way I can practice on the red before I start on the blue!
And I have finally, finally completed spinning up the 1kg of Bluefaced Leicester from last year. It ended up being quite chunky, around an aran/10 ply thickness and I am thinking of a chunky cardigan for myself, as you can see by the beginnings in the pic..
|Bluefaced Leicester, 1kg. Aran/worsted weight/10 ply approx.|
I'm a bit dubious about it though...it's really heavy! Won't I get tired lugging all that weighty wool around on my body? Plus, what if I don't have enough? Would the pattern still work with three quarter sleeves, short sleeves..or even no sleeves at all? Yikes! All things to consider in this hand spinning/knitting world!
By the way, can anyone recommend a good book on felting? I have some alpaca fleece that might be too short to spin and was thinking of giving this a go but have absolutely no idea how to go about it! :)
What have you been knitting/crocheting/spinning lately? Or are planning to?