Friday, November 13, 2009

Trying to learn how to spin

Gosh has it really been so long since I did this?? The date on the camera photos doesn't lie....

With crazy life happening the past few weeks, it took a rainy Friday night home alone (well with the dogs around my feet) to finally get around to posting these photos!

So on a rainy day the end of October a fleece customer (who swears I can sell out of my fleeces at Shepherd's Harvest if I get it turned into roving!) encouraged me, educated me and enlightened me on the ways of many things this day.

First off is she showed me how to properly wash a fleece. I won't bore you with the details she told me but it was a lot more involved and less complicated than I was doing :) Below is just a generous amount of Jazz's 2nd fleece that I brought along to wash. Isn't it just gorgeous?!
Here Lisa had some of Jazz's lamb fleece on her drum carder. Oh she also showed me this machine, but also showed me how to hand card and make wool eggs (is that what they are called?) and bats from this combing. I was combing some lovely CVM fleece of hers.
Several photos of Jazz's lamb fleece she had washed and was waiting to card.

Below she showed me some lovely yarns of Jazz's lamb fleece she has on her spindle (bobs? spools? I can't remember)

And her awesome wheel, whose name(the wheel) escapes me!
She then had me learn how to ply two commercial yarns together. It seemed fairly straight forward and appeared easy enough to do (hey even the photo looks nice huh?)

Below was a neat photo of a sweater I would hope someone would love to make me (I'd pay of course!) as there is no way I'm going to learn to KNIT! I had 8 hours of mind boggling spinning terminology and i was completely mortified and overwhelmed!) I took four full pages of notes and numerous other photos of the trip/day and thank goodness I did as my mind was over flowing with knowledge!
She then gave me some hideous (truly the color orange this is, is so obnoxious...she even laughed when she gave it to me) Merino roving that was partially felted to work on! Talk about such a nice lady! I had asked her why she chose Merino and she said my fleeces were as fine as they were (to which i politely thanked her and then disagreed...Heck Jazz is 25 afd! that's like 10 microns over a Merino). She remarked that she wore that lamb fleece skein of Jazz's around her neck for three days and never felt a prick on her neck! I had to remember his lamb fleece microned at 20.2 or something ridiculous, so it could be closer to that low micron than I think :)

She showed me how to draft and although slightly felted I was getting the hang of it....for awhile....I would do things like try to talk and pedal at the same time, which ended up in some twists :) She is SUCH a patient teacher! So she had me draft quite fine at first, and then not so much so I had more of a 'rope' look to it.

.....then she gave me Corriedale cross combed top to work with. Again she had me do both finely spun and more rope like spinning/drafting (if you can even call it drafting)
thank goodness the photo is blurry!
To further add insult to injury she then had me ply my rope/fine yarn combo TOGETHER into the below hideously awful looking rope/yarn wanna be skein! Had it not been orange, or partially of rope, I might actually have it out in the house, but its already packed away!

And so ended my very first day of spinning. Now if I could just prioritize some funds towards a wheel I'd be set, but since I just did A.I. and blood draws on 54 sheep, its a little on the back burner for now!


Kara said...

Great start Garrett! You should see my first yarn...good for felting and lamb sweaters, but that is about it (really ugly). It takes practice but you got the gist of it. Congrats! And to be honest we forget how small a micron is. It is nearly impossible for me to tell the difference between some of my 100% Shetland roving and Shetland and Alpaca blends without looking at the label on the bag. Once knit the Alpaca blends pill a little and the Shetland is much more durable. But to the touch the difference really hard to tell. Now my Cheviot and Corriedale cross it is easy to tell even with Alpaca added. And my sheep are not anywhere near as soft as yours. So I am sure that was a complement that was very well deserved! :)

Theresa said...

Hi Garrett,

Great job! Just keep plugging along and it will come.

Oh, terms:
wool eggs are wool rolags
bats are batts
the things on the flyer (the thing that goes around) are bobbins

Jazz's 20 micron fleece is definitely Merino like in AFD!

You can always make yourself or buy a drop spindle. That way you can at least practice and make a little yarn before you get a wheel. Drop spindling actually, IMO, teaches you how to draft really well so that your spinning gets better quicker (I learned on one, then spun a bit on a lace wheel - hard!). A well balanced spindle is fun to work with too.

Mim said...

Great jog spinning! Please do not pack it away your first yarn will always be a treasure!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Come on. Get that yarn back out. It's beautiful! There is magic in your first spinning. Don't hide it away.

Juliann said...

Garrett that is exactly how my first attempts looked. All lumpy bumpy then tight then lumpy again. Wow, this brings back memories!
Hang in there and keep at it, and then one day soon it will click, and you'll be spinning consistently.

Potosi Sheep Farm said...

Garrett, that yarn is great for first time spinning! I'm so glad you tried to learn. BTW...I'd rather spin your Shetland than merino any day. That white fleece I bought from you spun into the softest baby hat I've ever made.I think people have a crazy idea that Shetland is scratchy but they haven't had one of your fleeces yet. Make a hat out of that first skein. It will be something to treasure.My first spinning was made into the lumpiest sweather ever! I loved it. It burned in a fire at my school and I was miserable because money settlements couldn't replace it.

Gail V said...

Garrett, you made YARN! Congratulations on acquiring a new and important skill!

Rayna said...

LOL...sad part is G...I kinda like it...LOL. Congrats bud, you're way ahead of me! I get to go out and try my friends wheels one of these days though...she's got like 3 or 4 different types and she wants me to try them out to see what I like. Find out the name of this one for me! :)

Michelle said...

Yay for you! And remember Lois' comments from years of experience: there is more to a fine, soft fleece than microns. Scale formation and all that....

I just learned how to spin on a spindle Friday, thanks to Brian and thecrazysheeplady. Never had an interest before, but now I can see the benefits - portability and cost!

Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...