Monday, November 07, 2011

Wool Preparation for Spinning

Preparing wool for spinning
This started out as an experiment to see how well I liked Judith Mackenzie McCuin's methods for washing fleece (from Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning).  It turned out to be an exercise in what not to do with fibers of multiple lengths!

The wool is from a sheep named "Lambert".  I believe he was a Cotswold lamb.  His wool, being just a lamb, has a short staple--about 2" long--and there are lots of shorter bits in the fleece.

After soaking and washing the wool per Judith's technique, I let it dry and then started to prepare it for spinning.

Here is what you should NOT do with a fleece like this:  Don't put it through the drumcarder and expect a nice, smooth, fluffy batt.  What I got was a very textured batt.  The little pieces didn't get carded smooth.  I think there were just too short to get caught properly on the teeth.

I ended up taking the very textured batts and combing them with my Louet mini combs.  There was a lot of waste, but the resulting fiber is smooth and looks like it will spin well.  It doesn't have much luster, but at least it is not full of bumps and unexpected stuff.

In the photo, counter clockwise starting at the bottom right corner are (1) drumcarded batts, (2)-in the yellow tub--combed fiber, and (3) -to the upper left--the waste from combing the drumcarded batts.

I think I learned a lesson.  Don't try to card a mix of fiber lengths and expect a smooth result.  (This might be a great technique for making a textured yarn!)

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