Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Spinning Perrendale

Last spring I'd purchased a pound of Perendale fleece from The Fibre Garden.  It's a lovely place to shop.  The boys that run it are knowledgeable, friendly, lots of fun and enabling as well.  I'd washed it up to keep the lock structure, by laying out fibre locks on window screen.  It's a fairly time consuming method of washing, but the end results, with fleece that has the lock structure intact, is wonderful.

I'd put the washed locks in a bin and set them aside until I knew what I wanted to do with them.  Yesterday, I finally started spinning them.  I decided I wanted a fairly thin yarn, about 5- 6 twists per inch.  We'll see how close I stay to that as there were a few times that I caught myself relaxed and reveling in the act of just spinning to make yarn and not stressed trying to make yarn match specific requirements. 

To start with, I decided that I wanted a worsted yarn, so I'd be using a short forward draw.  Because the locks all had their structure after washing, I was able to pull out the flick carder for processing them.    All the locks are fairly long, so they flick open easily, with little risk to nipping the knuckles with the sharp tines, like with a shorter staple length.   I don't flick by brushing out the ends, but rather I use a hitting or bouncing motion, which creates static, opens up the ends.  This quickly separates the individual fibres and any VM and remaining dirt, just fall out easily.  There is virtually no chaff, bugs or any VM, so this fleece is a dream to process.

By putting a twist in the middle of the fibre, and gripping before flick carding, the locks stay together.  By lining up the opened locks with the cut ends to one end and the tips to the other, I can easily keep the grain of my yarn running the same way.  Does it make a lot of difference?  The scales are all running the same way, so hopefully it means a smoother, softer yarn, which will be easier to work with.  I will say that drafting these locks has been most enjoyable.

This is what I've gotten done since yesterday.  That is about 4 and a half hours of spinning.  I'd worried after months of practicing, making small skeins and samples that I'd not be able to spin just to make yarn.  It was an unnecessary worry, as the moment I sat down to spin these locks, I felt the spinning zen happening and felt wonderfully happy and relaxed.   It was such a good feeling.

 With it being this much fun to spin, I'd love to pick up another pound of that Perendale- a Romney/Cheviot cross, it's lovely, long, crimpy and fun to spin.  It's such a lovely colour too!

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