Sunday, 12 August 2012

I got fleeced

Just in case anyone was getting concerned that I was getting too obsessed with knitting, that I wasn't spending enough time doing other things with my life, and it was getting to be somewhat unhealthy, not to worry!  I haven't been knitting as much lately.  I've still been knitting some things, but I haven't been picking up the needles every day like I used to.

Of course, that's because I've been developing another obsession which has been taking up my time.  It's not exactly a new obsession, it's about two months old, however I haven't been able to indulge and nurture it until now.

That's right friends, I have acquired a spinning wheel.  It's a Louet Julia S11, it's nearly silent, totally smooth, has virtually no dead spot when treadling, and it's completely lovely.  I had decided after the spinning class that I wanted a Louet, and Francine, the instructor of the class (who I also ordered the wheel through), suggested this one.  She had never actually spun with it but had heard good things.  It was definitely the right decision for me.

I picked it up last week Saturday, just before planning to head to my parents place for the weekend.  I couldn't bear the thought of leaving the wheel all alone in a new scary place, so I took it with me.

The wheel came with 225 grams of creamy Romney comb top, which I thought was very considerate of them.  It would be very frustrating to have a wheel and have nothing to spin!  I started out with it as my practice fiber.  By the end of the first evening I had made about 95 yards of yarn that is, I think, roughly sport weight.  I don't know if there's any way to measure the weight of yarn you make.  Probably, I just haven't checked yet.

Spinnen mit Romney
This is great practice fibre.  It spins easily and there's lots of it, however the finished product is pretty rough.  Not something I'd want to wear next to my skin.  Maybe a hat or pair of mittens or something, but even that I'm not sure.  It might be how I'm spinning it, or maybe that's just how this fibre is.  Regardless, it's for practice!

I also bought a bag of Polwarth Elite fine show fleece that Francine and her daughter had dyed.  The whole bag is 700 grams which doesn't sound like much but it's quite a lot.  The colorway is Wild Berries and I think it's just lovely.

As this is still fleece it is not quite ready for spinning and must be prepared which is a little bit of work, but not actually that bad.  First I have to pick out individual locks in the colours that I want, then pull them apart to release some of the vegetable matter that's still in it.  After that it has to be carded (combed) so that it can be spun.  I practiced hand carding and flick carding and spun it all into this:

It's about 90 yards of sportish weight, and somewhat softer than the Romney.  Not quite enough to do anything with, but I do have a LOT left to spin!  I can't spin as much as I can knit though.  I don't have a perfect chair for spinning, and it's hard on the arms to do for more than a few hours at a time.  I'm finding that having a good spinning session every other day or every few days is working fairly well.  It gives enough time for the arm to feel better, and allows the skills acquired to settle a little bit.  I'm aiming to achieve fingering weight yarn soon.  I think I'm getting close...