An odd thing happened when I was sick with the cold (or flu, whatever it was). Spinning made me cough! Weird.
But now I can spin again. Here’s what I’ve done the last few days:
Dog hair yarns! I also spun the red roving I showed in an earlier post. And the 3-ply barber pole is a yarn I don’t like very much, but I know it’ll be good in a weaving project. It’s unfinished in the photo.
The chiengora is my first dog hair yarn for many years. I used to earn part of my living by spinning chiengora for customers for some 15 years. I was so fed up with it for a long time, but now I wanted to see how my new drum carder would blend wool, Keeshond hair, and silk. It did it very well. Here I’m starting to blend opened (teased on the carder in one pass) Kainuu Grey wool with the dog hair + silk that has also gone through the carder once:
I used coloured silk in some of the batts, and spun three different yarns. Two skeins with thicker yarn, one thin with leftovers from a bobbin with merino (I think), and two skeins with my default yarn. I like them all!
There was pretty much debris in the wool and the dog hair! Some of the silk fell through, but that’s not a problem: shake it, and the debris falls out and you can use it.
After the successful carding of the rather long Keeshond hair, I wanted to try something I’ve been thinking of ever since Kasper came to live with us more than ten years ago. I’d like to spin his very short undercoat. So here we go: the 1,5-2,5 cm long Kasper hair on top, and some Kainuu Grey lamb locks underneath. I also added a little silk. Silk is magical in chiengora yarns. It binds the shorter fibers, and adds lustre to the yarn. I’m not afraid to use my scissors – I often cut silk tops into shorter lengths to make the blending and spinning short, tricky fibers easier.
Here’s a Kasper batt ready to be doffed off:
I haven’t spun the batts yet. As you can see, I haven’t blended the different shades of the Kainuu Grey thoroughly, as I like the heathered look very much. If I’d like an even colour, I’d card the wool separately in 2-3 passes before adding the evenly coloured Kasper hair. The undercoat from dogs is very fine and delicate, and it can’t be carded in more than 2-3 passes on the 72 tpi card cloth before it starts breaking and making pills.
So now I’m working through my not so small fiber stash. I’m opening fleeces in one pass. I’ll use most of those rovings for blending both for colour and structure later. It’s so much more fun to just start blending and not being forced to open the fleeces first! Here’s some light yellow Finn x Texel ready for blending or further carding as it is:
I got a blending board a couple of months ago. Now I’ve finished the first yarns spun from rolags made on the board. This is a very fast way to use odds and ends from your stash. I now have 875 grams of 3-ply Merino yarn, WPI 16, spun with a double long draw. The real challenge is to use this yarn in a way that shows it without blurring the colours. I’m thinking moduls or stripes with a contrasting colour.
… I finished my Shetland lace yarn:
200 grams, 2-ply, wpi 30, 1340 meters. This can be used in a Shetland lace shawl, even if it’s not as fine as the skilled spinners in Shetland would spin for the finest shawls. Top from Jamieson & Smith in Lerwick.
“Shetland Textiles 800 BC to the present” is a beautiful book. The title says what it is about. Awesome photos, great information written by experts on all aspects of Shetland textiles. You can buy it here. Yes it’s expensive, but I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! It would be a great present for someone who loves the textile tradition of Shetland.
“The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting” by Shetland lace expert Elizabeth Lovick is a book for lace knitters. It explains all techniques you need for designing you own shawls and scarves, and it does it in the way Liz always does, exactly, easy-to-read, enjoyably. The photos have great contrast, which makes it easy to see details. It’s a colourful book as the samples are knitted in dyed yarns. This also is a very beautiful book printed on high quality paper. I highly recommend it for all lace knitters! You find it in several bookshops on internet, and if you hurry you can buy a signed copy from Liz. Details on her Ravelry group “Northern Lace”.
I’m taking a break from the survey of Finnish and Swedish breeds I’m working on. I love the white Shetland top I bought from Jamieson & Smith in Lerwick in 2010. I’m finally confident enough to spin it, not only practice spinning it. I don’t spin it as fine as some of the spinners in Shetland, but I think it’s fine enough for a Shetland shawl.