Friday, July 5, 2013

I Found Something Soft

A couple of weeks ago, while I was looking thru all my spinning fibers, for the Spin in, I found an 8 oz  batt of Rambouillet.  It is soft and lovely, and I decided right then and there to use it as part of my Tour de Fleece materials this year.

I haven't done much spinning from batts, it is almost like a layer of batting that you would use in a quilt, just softer.  I began by sampling with a hand spindle, and found that the length of the individual fibers was not very long!  Usually I have spun fiber that vary from 3 to 5 inches in length.  These fibers are barely 2 inches long, and very, very fine!

That means that I need to be using a fast spinning device that will allow a lot of twist to enter the fiber quickly.  Otherwise, the fibers just won't hold together!  It is going to be very similar to spinning cotton fibers.  Luckily, I have done some cotton spinning, not a lot, but enough to have a general idea of what I need to do.

 I am participating in 4 teams, and my goal is to spin 30 minutes per team, per day.  (That is 2 hrs a day!)  So far I have done pretty good, though one day I concentrated on the Team Ashford.  (I posted about about that on the Farmstead Studio blog.  I just got excited about all that color!)

I had loaned out the hand spindle that I might have used, but that is okay, since my little spindle wheel has a high speed whorl ready and waiting.  First, I tear off a 3 inch strip from the batt, all the way across the end of it.  From this strip, I separate a section about as big as my hand.

 I attach the fiber by laying the end of the spun strand across the fibers in my hand, and I start treadling, slowly at first while the twist engages the new fibers, then I draft back about a 10inch  length.  This length will be a bit lumpy bumpy, but that is okay because all I need to do is pinch the strand close to the spindle and stretch that softly spun yarn until it is the thinness that I want it to be.  It will then have stretched to a full arms length.   Then I treadle fast a couple of times to add more twist so that the yarn will be strong enough to hold together, then I load it on.  This spindle can really hold a lot of fiber, maybe 3 or 4 oz!

30 minutes may not seem like much, but it really does add up!  My drafting technique is improving the more I spin.  I use this same drafting technique on the Great Wheel downstairs, but I just realized that on that wheel I draft out with my left hand, and on this wheel I have been drafting with my right!  Hmmm, I am going to try using my left next time I sit down to spin.

 I really like the fact that the Tour de Fleece is pushing me to spin on all the wheels that I own, a little everyday.  Some of my wheels have not seen much action in quite some time!  When the tour is done, I hope I can keep this going, maybe I will work my way through all these fleeces after all!

Until the next time, Happy Spinning, Tina


LA said...

With all the rain we've had this week, spinning seems like a great inside activity! That white batt was so soft to the touch.

Bonnie said...

Sounds like you have a plan.

Maggie said...

Sounds like some dyeing might be in order?