Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fibreness

It's all about the fibre here lately! It started with a yearning to start spinning again..it's been so long. Too long! Then it continued with a delivery of several bags of alpaca fleece from a good associate. SO much fibre! And it's so, so soft this alpaca fleece. Throw in a trip to an expo with hand spinning on display and the start up of spinning group for the the year and well, what can I say? It was bound to happen..

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'm thinking a fine yarn knitted into a loose scarf. There is only 50g of each so I need to think very carefully..


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?


20 comments:

  1. You are so clever! Love the colours, esp. the reds. The last one, that would be great in a short sleeve cardigan for in between seasons... a white singlet or t-shirt underneath, blue jeans, funky necklace!

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  2. I'm blown away by your beautiful spinning work. It must be the ultimate in knitting satisfaction to actually spin and then knit out of the fibre. Gorgeous colours.

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    1. Yes, dixiebelle, you ready my mind. I just hope it won't be too heavy..oh, well.. we'll just have to wait and see! ;)

      It's such an enormous learning curve, Tania, but yes, hugely satisfying to knit up handspun yarn.

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  3. I am so inspired. Thank you! I can't wait to get the hang of it. I'm not starting back at my spinning group until term two, when Master Six is better settled at school, but I can't wait after reading this post! I think I may just have to do a little spinning at home in the meantime.

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  4. Beautiful blends and colours! You are so clever, i look forward to seeing what you make.

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    1. Fantastic, Linda, it's so great that you have a spinning group near you too! Happy spinning ;)

      Yes, the mystery that surrounds each quantity of yarn and what it will eventually be turned into is what keeps me going, Racheal! :)

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  5. Gosh, i haven't seen spinning in action for a long time...how clever you are...i can't wait to see what you create...the fibres look just wonderful!

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  6. Such wonderful work. I imagine it would be such therapeutic work, spinning. I'm still crocheting two separate blankets, that I have been working on for far too long!

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    1. The fibres are so different but all so soft, Jode. I haven't tried spinning anything with silk in it before so looking forward to this!

      Oh, Stacey, I can relate - I have one of those here, too. One day you'll have the most beautiful blankets and the wait will be worth it!

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  7. Beautiful spinning!

    I have not yet spun from raw fleece or in the grease. Nice job on both.

    I have spun half-inch long green cotton though... so I wonder how short your short alpaca is. It's just a matter of slowing the treadling down until you get the rhythm of the fiber... of course I was spinning from a roving. :-)

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  8. What gorgeous images ! It almost makes me feel like knitting a jumper..though I don't think the world is ready for me to start knitting clothes yet. You are so clever.

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    1. Hi Kathryn, hmm, I didn't measure the alpaca but by looking at it, I would say it's under an inch. I suppose it could be carded with some longer fibres to make it easeir...we'll see. Your cotton sounds extremely interesting!!

      Oh, Kim, you do make me laugh! I can just imagine you herding a fibre animal or two in amongst your goats! ;)

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  9. I have always wanted to get a spinning wheel, I tried spinning at school.
    I knit and crochet so much and spinning my own wool would make the garment even more special.

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  10. It's been ages since I did any spinning. I had a wheel but sold it overseas and planned to buy another one when I got home but that hasn't happened yet. I do have spindles though. I should get those out and have a little play again.

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    1. Debbie, you would spin superbly, I'm sure! If your knitting is anything to go by. :)

      Little plays on spindles are the best, Chez...just hunt down a little fibre and away you go.. ;)

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  11. Hi Christine. I have just given you a blog award. You can check it out at:
    http://julie-beautyintheeveryday.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/so-kind-my-first-blog-award.html
    Have a great weekend xxoo Julie

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  12. Gorgeous, Chris! You'll be well and truly ready for winter!

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    1. Thanks, Julie! :)

      Yes, winter...it will be too cold to spin outside then, Celia! ;)

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  13. We are due to shear our sheep soon Christine, IF only I had a spinner, or the time to spin, it looks like an interesting process... I don't know what we'll do with our fleece, Please do email me and let me know if you want some, can you send raw wool via Aust Post?

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  14. My Mom used to spin! And knit! Not skills I appear to have the genes for as it turns out- Nor the patience, my husband would tell you!

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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