I have carded some of my Swedish Finewool sheep wool the last few weeks. It’s incredibly soft! I dyed it last summer, but haven’t had time to prepare it for spinning until now. The Swedish Finewool sheep is one of Sweden’s national breeds, developed from old Swedish fine woolled sheep with a little bit of help from Finnish landrace (aka Finnsheep aka Finn) rams and some Norwegian breeds at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s a rare breed nowadays, wish I shouldn’t have to use the word “rare” so often when I talk about sheep! I also carded what was left of a batch of Kainuu Grey wool. Yes, it’s a very rare sheep…
As always, I got tired of doing just one thing, so I still have all of the blue fleece to card. And I also got out of storing space! Carded wool can’t be pressed down into plastic bags just like that, it needs a lot of storing space. I hope you can see through the plastic bag how crimpy this wool is. It takes a lot of time and effort to tame it into spinnable rolags. I open it on the drum carder in 3-4 passes, and hand card into rolags. Spinning is pure joy! I spin the way I love the best: long draw on my Swedish Saxony.
I also finally finished two spindle shafts I made last year. I wasn’t satisfied with them, so I took my knife and sandpaper and made some improvements. They work fine now. The whorls are made by a Swedish ceramic artist and spinner, Lena Bergsman of Rostocks Keramik. You find her on Facebook.
We’re still waiting for spring. You may have heard of the Walpurgis Night, the celebration of spring here in Scandinavia and some other European countries. It’s supposed to be warm, sunny, green, and the spring flowers should be blooming. But not so this year! This is what we woke up to yesterday morning all over Scandinavia:
So we’re still waiting. Meanwhile, I give the birds some wool for their nests:
This time we live in. Despite all the bad that happens all over the world, there are also good things that connect us. Thank you Rebecca! Your posts made me so happy!
…all by myself! Well, hubby split a piece of firewood for me, to be honest 🙂
First you need to search your house: is there a suitable stone hidden somewhere? When you’ve found one, try to figure out how to start working. I chose to make the hole first, because without a hole it wouldn’t be much of a spindle. The hole also needs to be exactly in the center, and I thought it would be easier to work around the hole than to try to find the center of a circle, if you see what I mean. So my nice Swiss multipurpose tool, a crafter’s best friend by the way, came in handy once again.
It’s soapstone I’m working with. Easy to carve with a knife and finish with a rasp or sandpaper. I used both. I also used the miniature saw blade to cut off the ends of the stone:
Then I took my coarsest sandpaper and a rasp and worked on the corners to make a somewhat circular shape, and also thinned out the thicker parts of the stone. It doesn’t matter if the whorl isn’t perfectly circular, as it’s a supported spindle.
Then it was time for the shaft. I wanted a Russian style shaft. So off to see what I could find in the firewood supply. I found birch, which is what to expect here where I live. Not hard enough, but will do. I can always make a new shaft when the old one is worn out. I used the biggest knife blade and the same coarse sandpaper, as I have found that very smooth shafts don’t give you the best grip because they’re slippery. I test spun cotton, and the spindle was good!
I’m satisfied with the result. The spindle rotates quite fast. The whorl + shaft weighs 23 grams and it’s 25 cm long. I may try other types of shafts later, but for now I feel like I shouldn’t do any more woodwork. Wood is one of the materials that may swallow me, and I really don’t have time for that!