Tag Archives: spindle

Fun with Food and Fiber

To keep the sourdough starter going, it has to be fed at least every couple of days.  The longer you go between feedings, the longer it takes to get going again.  In order to not have buckets of the stuff, you have to use it, discard about 80% before you feed it, or give it away.  Since I had to feed the starter left from making bread the other day, I decided to feed it a goodly amount and make muffins this morning.  The recipe that I used makes a product that is a cross between a scone and a muffin in texture, but sweet, crumbly and delicious.  It made a dozen and N and I ate 2 each right out of the oven this morning.

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This is what was left after we gobbled down breakfast.

Today was spinning group day.  Since it was beginning to drizzle with more significant storms due, I chose not to take my wheel, but just the drop spindle and some knitting.  I enjoyed visiting with the ladies, knitting some, listening to the various conversations, entering some of them, and spinning on my drop spindle.  Like kids in kindergarten, we often do show and tell and I took the two skeins that I have recently finished, one on the wheel and the other from the drop spindle.

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The top one is Merino from Hawk’s Nest and there was still a bit of the purple left after carding it with the blues and grays, and the bottom is Romney from a fiber club.  The ladies said I should blend some of them together, so this afternoon after getting home, I decided to play with my new to me Strauch Petit Drum Carder.

I took this

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and this

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and there was still some of this unspun

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and made these

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It is only a couple of ounces and I don’t know if I will spin it on the spindle or the wheel. There will only be enough yarn to use as an accent on something, maybe with the purple Merino blend above.

As I expand my fiber skills, I get more deeply hooked on the craft.  I have yet to work with locks or a whole fleece, nor have I more than toyed with dyeing, but I have a bag of Mohair locks to play with and am getting bolder with the idea of dyeing some fiber or yarn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Spinning Lesson

Several days ago, I blogged about my crafty hobbies and got several responses about how great the photos were, but they didn’t have any idea what the terms were.  This will be a short lesson with photos about how thread, yarn, string or even the huge rope that tie up a ship are made.  Spinning is a very ancient art that involved twisting fiber by hand, spindle, spinning wheel or machine into strands or singles and then taking two or more of those singles and spin them together in the opposite direction, allowing the twist you created to hold the strands together, called plying.

Many fibers can be spun.  Wools from dozens of varieties of sheep, llama, alpaca, cashmere goat, angora rabbit, yak, buffalo, whatever has hair of sufficient fiber length to twist together.  Silk cocoons, cotton, hemp, flax, and synthetic fibers such as acrylics to name a few can also be spun.

I am currently working with wool processed two different ways.  The red on the left is called a batt.  The wool is combed out to line up the fibers and left in big clouds or sheets.  The dark on the right is pencil roving.  It is also combed out to line up the fibers but the fibers are then rolled into long loose ropes with no strength.  These are two of the more convenient ways to process the fiber for spinning.  A chunk of the batt or the roving is pulled off, fluffed apart to make it looser, called predrafting, then spun.  The single that you make is much stronger that the product at the start, but even stronger if it is then plied to another single.

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The red batt is Tunis wool and the dark pencil roving is a blend of Finn and Jacob wool, so three different sheep breeds represented.  All of these are fairly soft and have a long fiber, making spinning very easy.

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Once the spools, called bobbins are full or you run out of fiber, it can be plied.

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My spinning wheel is equipped with a built in bar with two pegs that fit through the center of the bobbins to hold the full bobbins for plying.  This is called a Lazy Kate.  You can see in the photo, the two singles being fed back up to the top bobbin for plying.

 

 

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This is a two ply yarn for knitting, crocheting, or weaving.  You can see the twist because of the use of the two colors in my effort to make a tweed like yarn.  The coin is an American dime to give you some reference to the thickness of the finished product.

Once it has all be plied onto the bobbin, it will be wound off and measured then washed and hung to dry before it will be ready for use.  We will save knitting terms for another lesson.

For you curious or scientific minds, go grab a few inches of kitchen twine and you can reverse the process to see how it works.  The plies will pull apart and you can see the twist, then if you take a ply and start unraveling it, you will see that it twists the opposite direction.  It is really quite an interesting product.

Long ago, our ancestors would start with the raw fiber, wash it, comb it, spin it, then knit or weave it into a garment for warmth.  My end goal is to reach the point where I can do a process called sheep to shawl where I will do everything except sheer the sheep.  Last year I did help with an alpaca shearing http://wp.me/p3JVVn-mU but that is another story.