Saturday, 27 December 2014

Fibre Processing Comparison

Way back in October, I had a bunch of Merino and some lovely fawn alpaca.  I was playing with the blending board and pulled off a bunch of rolags.  Because the Merino and Alpaca were of similar staple lengths and about 3-4 inches long, I decided to practice the long draw.   
The last skein in the photo is the first that I spun.   I used a traditional English type long draw or double drafting.  The rolags spun easily though you can see the uneveness in the blending.  It was a really nice skein and relatively consistent. 

 However, I realized then that I had more than enough fibre to do a bit of an experiment.  I divided up the rest of the rolags.  I ran one set through the drum carder a single time and the second set through the drum carder twice.   I rolled up each batt and attenuated the fibres from the centre.   I then spun the resulting roving with a similar long draw technique to the first skein.  

The first skein, directly from the blending board rolags is fairly consistent in grist and there are distinct areas of Alpaca and Merino.   The skein made from the drum carded batt carded only once, was much more difficult to keep consistent in grist.  There were still patchy areas which just wouldn't behave the way I wanted them too.  The third skein, which was from the twice drumcarded fibre, was much more consistent win grist, well blended and uniform.  

The skeins are all nice.  They are all close enough in grist to be used in a single project.  There are differences though, which show that you really do need to take fibre preparation into consideration as one of the factors in spinning yarn.  It was a fun little experiment.

I started knitting a pair of mittens with the fibre.  It knit up easily and is very soft.   I just got the tails sewn into this mitten.   I went to grab the second skein and I can't find it anywhere.  It seems that in the pre-holiday rush, my skeins were put in a safe place.   Now I have a single mitten that I cannot wet finish or block because I need it for a pattern for it's mate, whenever I find the missing skeins.


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