Done and done.

I finished spinning my Cormo – here’s the final tally.

1 lb. raw Cormo fleece yielded 10 ounces of 4ply cabled yarn, approx 400 yards total. It is a heavy worsted weight, about 8WPI, and will eventually be a hat and mitten set for me. The six ounces lost is partly due to washing – this was a a very lanolin rich fleece – and partly due to sampling and leftover bits. I probably have about 10 or 20 yards of singles, 2plies, and sample skein hanging about.

And here it is:
Finished Cormo.

3 large skeins, and one little one, which is ten yards, and not included in my yardage above.

I also sat down and did a little organizing work on my spinning stuff. I took a fiber sampling class a while back, and came away with a box full of top and roving samples from about 20 different fibers. With my usual laissez faire attitude, I stuck it on a shelf and ignored it, until yesterday.

Yesterday I pulled the box down, laid out all the samples, pulled out the singles sampler I had spun during the class and my little note card, and labeled everything. Now I know what I have, and can refer back to it when ever I want to know what someone else is talking about.  Gods willing, I might even refer to my samples for oh, say, designing spinning projects.

Fiber Samples

I’ve got a nice range of fiber – bombyx and tussah silks, several rayons including milk fiber, and a wide range of wools from Optim stretch merino to Lincoln (which is startlingly like dolls hair). I’ve also got some yak in there, and a bit of possum/merino. Fun stuff.


News of the day.

I have finished carding and spinning all the Cormo.  The last two bobbins of singles are waiting to be plied,  and once they are plied I can spin the final yarn, and then the Cormo will be done.

I have made a Navajo spindle for the Navajo spindle class I will be taking in October.  It cost about ten dollars to make,  including buying a seven dollar drill bit.

I am knitting a round pink and white dishcloth – it is the first new knitting I have done this year.  Everything else has been stuff that was on the needles in January.

I have decided to comb as much of the sweater fleece as I can, and card the rest.  That will give me two yarns, and between them I should have plenty to make my sweater.

I am trying to decide how to process the Jacob I have.   Probably I will card it, because it has a very short staple, and the black and white locks have different staple lengths.   I will blend some, and keep others black and white.

Wool work.

I’ve got the second skein of cabled cormo finished, and tucked up with the first. I wrapped this one on my 2 yard niddy, and it’s made a very pretty skein indeed.

Today is a carding day – I finished picked over the last of the Cormo last night, so it is all fluffed up and ready to card. I’ve got two bags now, one of neatly fluffed locks, and one of rough fluff. The rough will make worse rolags, so I am carding it first, and saving the pleasure of the locks for ending with.

So far, it’s going nicely – lots of neps and VM to take out, but that’s okay.

Spinning on a Tuesday.

Part of the joy of having rules and guidelines is the ability to ignore. bend, break, spindle, tear, fold and mutilate them at will.   In that vein,  because it is  Tuesday, my designated knitting day,  I have been spinning.

I am still working on my Cormo,  and am working on the final re-ply of the second skein now – hopefully I will finish the spinning this evening, and be able to cook and hang up the yarn to dry overnight.

Cataloging my spinning stash.

Since I haven’t organized and sorted my stuff in a while, I’m taking today to catalog my stash. First up, spinning stuff.



I have four spindles right now, my dark brown Spinsanity, my laceweight Spinsanity, a plain octagonal Louet, and a fossil series Yorkieslave. I’ve also got a one yard niddy noddy, a WPI tool, hand cards, and a spindlers lazy kate with 4 bobbins.

Here is some of my fiber stash, being spun on the fossil spindle, and my octagonal Louet spindle. I do not know what the fiber is – it’s a combed top preparation, and was a gift from Denise.


None of the Cormo stuff is in this post because I’ve posted about it extensively recently. My main spinning project is a local fleece that I am spinning for a sweater. It is a 5.5 lb longwool fleece, from a ewe named R24 – she is a mixed breed. Her fleece is very soft, and low crimp. I’ve spun three skeins so far – a 4 ply, which I decided was too bulky, and two 3 ply skeins.


As well as the Cormo and R24, I also have a pound of Jacob that waiting to be carded and spun. I’m not sure what I will do with it, or how to spin it yet. I want to preserve the brown and white color of the fleece somehow.


I’ve also got a box full of sample fibers from a spinning class I took last year – I’m giving some serious thought to blending them all together somehow, and spinning them that way. There’s milk fiber, carbonized bamboo, several different kinds of wool, linen, and a variety of other fibers. I do have plain samples spun, so I wouldn’t be losing my reference if I spun them, though I do need to label the reference bobbin.


And of course I have a fair amount of handspun. Most of it is labeled with at least the yardage.


Cormo cabled yarn, finished.

I’ve finished the first skein of my cabled Cormo yarn. It weighs 3 oz, and measures 8 wraps per inch, making it heavy worsted weight. Yardage, 122 yards. I am guesstimating that I used about a quarter of my fleece, so I think I’ll get another three skeins out of it of similiar weight and yardage. The Cormo has been very pleasant to spin, especially as my carding technique improves and my rolags get more even.

The finished yarn.

Socks, singles and a trip to Ann Arbor.

I have finished plying the second 2ply yarn for my cabled Cormo yarn, and it is resting neatly on its bobbin, all ready to finish up tomorrow.
Winding the second ply.2ply yarns ready to be cabled

In other news, I got my formal confirmation email from the Fiber Expo today – I am listed to teach my sock knitting class. This will be the second year I’ve offered the class, and hopefully I will be able to teach this year. Last year I didn’t get my class proposal in on time, and because I was listed late, I didn’t have enough registrations to hold the class.

So, this year I am on the ball, have all my ducks in a row, and assorted other odd metaphors of preparedness. My class is listed, and I am in the process of revising the handouts I developed last year. It’s nice having that chunk of the work already largely done.
I’ll be test teaching the class in September for my knitting group, and I’ll pull together an assortment of the socks I’ve knit for demo pieces. I may knit some new heel demo pieces – I’ve been wanting to do a heel sampler for a while, and this is a good excuse.

This is one of the socks I’ll probably take with me – if they’re not being worn. This is a pair of socks for Michael, in Trekking Hand Art, colorway Irland. My basic toe up sock formula, with a new bind off I’ve learned recently – the Russian bind off. This bind off makes an excellent very stretchy top for socks, and doesn’t need to be worked on larger needles, which makes my sock knitting life simpler. And simple is good. It’s simple bind off — K2, put the stitches back on to the left needle, K2Tog through the back loops. K1, repeat.

A green sock.
Russian Bind-Off on a sock.


The Ann Arbor Fiber Expo is coming up in October, and in honor of the event I’ve taken a break from working on my sweater wool and am spinning a pound of grey Cormo that I purchased at the Expo last year.    I’ve decided to spin a cabled yarn, something I haven’t done before.

Cabled yarns are interesting — you spin standard singles,  and then ply them together with a lot of extra twist,  then ply those over twisted yarns back on each other.  Since I want a 4 ply cable, I am making 2 ply yarns.   The singles are Z twist –  spun clockwise –  and the 2ply is S twist — spun counter-clockwise.   When I have both lengths of 2ply spun, then I’ll ply them clockwise,  so the final yarn has a Z twist.

And because I am getting bit with the blogging bug again,  here is an insanely detailed and photo intensive post about the whole process from locks of wool to spun yarn.   I’ll talk about yarn finishing tomorrow.

The less detail oriented may skip going below the fold,  and check out my summary photograph – from left to right in the front we have 1) a lock of wool 2)  a lock that has been picked up and is ready to card 3) a rolag – wool carded and ready to spin and 4) the reference sample of cabled yarn – I’ll refer to it throughout the spinning process to make sure I am spinning consistently.

In the back are two bobbins of singles being plied on my SpinSanity spindle.  She’s also responsible for the lazy kate I’m using.

From locks to yarn.
Continue reading

Long time waiting.

Last year at the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo I bought a pound of a grey cormo fleece that Em and I just fell in love with.  We kept looking at it and walking away,  and coming back to it.   I gave in and got the pound,  and Em got a pound,  and then couldn’t resist and went back for the rest of it.

I then packed up and went home, spent a wonderful smelly week washing wool and then lost track of it until recently  when it made an unexpected appearance at the grocery store, masquerading as a re-usable grocery bag full of shopping bags.

Here is the washed fleece – pretty lock structure, very dense.   I only washed this once, to keep the lanolin in it.

Washed Cormo

And here is some of it picked open and ready to card – I normally have carded sort of lock by lock,  but I thought I would try picking this,  since it is quite dense and slick from the lanolin.

Picked fleece, ready to card.

And here is a bag full of rolags,  all ready for the spindle.   I finally got the hang of doffing the cards, so I am able to card much more quickly.

Cormo Rolags