Spinning Basket

The Spinning Basket

Some wine coloured roving, being spun for a heavy worsted weight 3 ply on my ebony Golding. White coopworth underneath it, and a sample skein of some pretty green wool/silk roving I have.


If I didn’t have cheap-ass rechargeable batteries….

…you’d be looking at my own picture of my new toy, instead of this one. As soon as I get my batteries recharged, I’ll plug in my own picture. This one is from the shop website.

Maine Fiber Spindle Kit

I got my first bottom whorl spindle, in a spindle kit from Maine Woods Yarn and Fiber — I love Etsy! Tons of great hand crafted stuff, including plenty of fiber artists, and my blog buddy Sarah’s shop — her bags are divine.

I really wish I knew what kind of wool the white top is — it’s lovely, and sheepy scented, fairly long staple length, and smooth smooth smooth. Partially it’s the combed top preparation – but the wool is not like anything else I’ve spun — it seems almost like Lincoln, if Lincoln were really soft. I hope I can figure it out!

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.

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.



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

I want a sweater.

I’ve wanted a good cardigan sweater for years. I’ve scoured thrift shops and knitting catalogs, I’ve read dozens upon dozens of knitting books and sweater patterns, all in search of the perfect cardigan. It has to be cozy enough to serve as a light jacket for early morning walks or autumn get-togethers, and it has to have pockets. It has buttons, not a zipper.

I still haven’t found my perfect pattern – I may have to make something up, which I find myself startlingly confident in my ability to do.

But I do have a start on the yarn. I’m aiming for a worsted/heavy worsted three ply, something between 8 and 11 WPI. I got real handcards for my birthday (!) , so I’m able to make nice sizable rolags now and  spin a true woolen yarn, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m using my plain dark Spinsanity spindle – it’s 1.2 oz, and spins like a dream.

I’m figuring I’ll need about 2-3k yards of yarn for my sweater,  so I bought and washed a 5.5  lb border leicester fleece from a local shepherd.  The results so far?

Here’s the washed wool, and my hand cards — see those dog combs? I was doing all my fiber prep with those, until my birthday. I also picked up a couple of nice fabric lined wicker bins, to replace the plastic bag/plastic bin combo I had going. Plastic storage is safe for the raw fleece, but not very aesthetic for my living room.

Raw wool.

And here’s the bin of rolags – I card rolags until the bin is full, and then start spinning. I’ll repeat until I’m out of fleece. This is what’s left of the first bin full.


And these are singles I’ve spun so far from the first binful of rolags. I’ve got two bobbins of singles ready to ply, and the third is on the spindle. That little kate is also from Spinsanity, and is the coolest gizmo ever – I love it.


One the Spindle right now.

I am spinning laceweight right now – this is some unidentified fiber that I got in the goodie bag at the spinning class I took last year.   I estimate I have about two ounces of it. It is a very fine soft stuff, and spins very easily – I believe the mix has silk in it, but I really don’t remember.

laceweight 002

This is on my .8 oz SpinSanity – I love this little spindle. I have a larger SpinSanity too, with a spiral pattern on it. Very nice stuff.

To turn, turn will be our delight.

These are the skeins that I am finishing today – they’ve been washed, and are now bedecking my living room as they dry.   From top to bottom there is:

  • corriedale – from my Louet spindle kit,  spun on the Louet octagon spindle (1.5oz).   Cruddy fiber on an iffy spindle, but still made a nice yarn – we’re using it to make a sock pony. 102 yards, approx.
  • cooked pork colored Romney – from the fiber samples we were given in the spinning class at the Expo.  Spins nicely,  uncomfortable meaty color.  I’m making mini skeins out of it to practice different yarn finishing techniques.  Spun on my nice Spinsanity spiral spindle(1.1oz).
  • a combination of the pork Romney, some silk merino that Shannon gave me a sample of, and some shetland top that we also got in the spinning class.  Made an interesting yarn all plied together. Spun on the Spiral.
  • some of the silk merino spun along on my little .8 oz lace spindle.  Lovely stuff.
  • a sample of alpaca top spun on the lace spindle.
  • merino tencel plied with the shetland leader that was on my lace spindle.   I love this roving – it’s named Briney Deep, and is from Dragon Fibers.  I bartered for this with Kraftie.  This stuff drafts like a dream, and spins lace beautifully, and makes a shimmery yarn that is just enchanting.  I am so in love with it.

Some HandSpun