Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spinning from Dyed Locks

Today was my first experience spinning from dyed locks.

Reading a listing of sheep breeds, I was very interested in working with some Cotswold. No luck finding any processed all-Cotswold roving, but I did find raw fleece,and locks. The Sheep Shed, a marvelous merchant, had dyed Cotswold locks at a very good price, $10 for a pound, so I ordered one pound to see if I'd have any luck.

The locks arrived on Wednesday and I couldn't resist trying to spin a little with a drop spindle. I just opened out the ends of the curls and went (slowly) from there, drafting right out of the lock of wool. I've never experienced anything quite like it, nothing at all like roving, top, or batts. The locks were not a disappointment, either. They were lustrous and beautiful, soft but strong and a great mix of colors.

The results of the spindle spinning were promising.

About 26 yards of a DK-ish weight, very soft and knit like a charm.

I'm a bit out of practice with the spindle, but I was still OK with the results, and it gave me enough feel for the wool to be confident working with it on the wheel.

So, I split up the locks into what I thought would be interesting color combinations and divided the first batch into enough to fill a couple of bobbins.

Pretty tough to keep it even. Some of the fiber was practically ready to pull into roving...

And the majority of it that wasn't...

... I simply teased out the ends of the locks and worked through it, drafting it slowly and carefully so it didn't bunch up too much. Not a complete success,but certainly not a complete failure.

The colors are vibrant and shiny and I like the way they mixed in the plying. It's softer than I expected, and I think it'll make a nice scarf or hat. The total of this skein is between 4 and 6 ounces.

The skein is about 145 yards and roughly 12 WPI. There's a little thick/thin variation, but not much. I'm pretty proud of it!


lynn said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I got some Cotswald Curls from the Sheep Shed too. Mostly for needle felting and for my daughter to play with. But the colors are so pretty and shiny that I've been wondering how they'd do spun up. Your yarn is lovely!

Loredena said...

Very pretty! When I was first learning, my teacher gave me some merino locks and had me flick card them as I went, using a dog brush. If you were just finger teasing, you might find flicking either end with a dog brush to be helpful.

I wasn't very good at it at the time, perhaps I shall dig out what I still have and try again now that you've inspired me!