February 08, 2008

Five (Maybe Six) Species Cooperate to Make Yarn

I've been doing some more spinning! The yarn cake is the dried and wound yarn I showed you the other week. Its 34 yards totals 1.4 ounces, which works out to a bulky yarn using the calculator and these charts.

The skein of yarn at the top, however, is my second attempt. One of my goals is to spin sock yarn, and this spinner/knitter recommends 10-15% mohair by weight to add durability to wool socks. The fiber is a combination of yellow mohair and sheep/alpaca/dog fiber (the last two pictures here). The other two species counted in the title? Cat and human! It's 99.9% probable that there's cat hair and at least one of mine in that skein! LOL

Using the giant dog brushes, I "carded" the fibers together and spun them using a very impromtu inchworm draw. The singles were still bumpy in places, but overall much finer than before. The thin spots tended to be the mohair because it's tough and longer than the other fibers in my "blend." I spun until the bobbin was nearly full, wound it into a ball, and plied from both ends. Measuring the skeined yarn, there's 89 yards that weigh 1.5 ounces. Using the same tables, calculator, and brain, I figure the yarn is sport weight. Despite everything, the skeined yarn hung straight, possibly indicating that it is, on average, balanced.

I found a book at the library, Spinning and Weaving with Wool by Paula Simmons that seems to be a good match to my learning style. It also has plans for building a drum carder, in case I decide to do that. In the mean time, there's an electric drum carder at a LYS that I can use for $10 an hour if I want to do some more effective and efficient blending.

What will I knit from my handspun? Probably an ear-warming headband from the green merino, and maybe some wrist warmers from my multi-breed sport, but a little googling may reveal a pattern to match the yardage/weight.

Do you have any suggestions? Please comment!

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