Who decided that Shetland was a good idea for this challenge? Oh, right. Here’s me paying the price.
I only had 50ish grams of washed belly wool to work with and a good part of that was grass and felted bits. The fiber is tender in spots, so I tested frequently as I picked. I started out just teasing the wool open with my fingers, but I switched to tapping it open on some fine carding cloth when the fiber was long enough..
The pile on the top is technically teased and picked. As you can see, I wasn’t able to get everything out. I decided to keep anything 1/2″ or longer. The longest piece is just over an inch. The white fiber is shorter than the brown, so I decided to roughly blend the two colors.
After all was said and done, I had 10 grams of picked fiber. Not tons, but I only need 10 yards for a sample skein.
The challenge? I wanted to test both spinning from the carder- using the carding cloth as a comb- and spinning from a puni.
I expected the semi-worsted spin make better yarn, esp. considering the fiber length and quality issues.
I used the teeth of the carding cloth to catch the uneven fibers and help the crushed vegetation drop out. It did all of that, but it turned the yarn into something much more like thread- densely spun and kind of boring. Fergie was not a fan of this.
The yarn was nice and smooth, but too firm to the touch and oh-so-uninspired.
As it turned out, the puni made a much nicer yarn. I used about 3 grams of my 10 gram fiber supply to charge the carders.
This carding cloth is 120 tpi. I roughly blended the brown and white fibers, picking out most of the shorter pieces and vm. Once I had a mostly smooth batt, I used the best fiber from the nep pile and sprinkled the shorter white fibers throughout the batt. Then, I used my smallest dowels (3/16″) to roll the puni. I used light tension as I wrapped because I was worried that the neps wouldn’t draft if I made the puni too tight. In the end, I had a strange hybrid rolag-puni thing to spin.
I decided to use a spindle because it was just a tiny amount of yarn and the only wheel without a project on the bobbin was upstairs. (yes, the spindle has a project on it as well. So do the other 10 spindles on my downstairs rack. I’m beyond help…). You can see how rough and crunchy the puni is. I didn’t have high hopes for this yarn.
I spun the yarn supported, American long draw- flicking the spindle, giving a bit of a pull to get the drop going because this spindle doesn’t weigh much, and then drafting against the support point to draw out an arms length horizontally. In spite of the fineness of the yarn, there’s decent loft and a nice soft surface on the yarn. The white neps locked in nicely and in most places made a good tweedy pop rather than a white spiral. I did the Andean plying party trick and ta-da- a soft, 2 ply textured, heathered yarn. The photos on the bottom are plied & washed. The fibers bloomed differently, so you can see the texture of the white fibers rising above the brown fibers. Much more interesting than the grey-brown thread!
I am looking forward to using this yarn in my punch needle. I am pleasantly surprised by the handle of the yarn. This is definitely yarn- not thread. It has some good squish factor and texture without looking messy. I was worried it wouldn’t stand up to knitting, but it’s nice and strong. I have 4 grams left to play with, so I’m going to make another mini and see what it looks like knitted up.
Here’s the second puni spun up. This one isn’t quite as interesting because I used a lighter hand with the nepps. Of the two, I prefer the one with more texture for use, but the smoother one makes a prettier skein.
Spinning the Britch