Quillin Weaving

A blog about spinning, dyeing and fiber related things.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Two Ounces Before Breakfast

I guess you know it is a serious fiber addiction when you wake up at 5am and the first thought is the combed wool from the night before and what that will look like plied. Hence I got up and spun two ounces before breakfast. It looked like this............
I love these colors together. Brown, periwinkle, burnt orange. It may sound odd but it would be great for an autumn garment, maybe a hat or gloves, a vest. This is entirely Rambouilett that I dyed as locks and then combed together, blending the colors on the combs before pulling the roving. It spun like a dream and this little two ounce skein sample was 70 yards - a good fingering weight.

Earlier in the week I posted about the gray Corriedale (Tim) and this is how that skein turned out. It was 4.3 ounces and 160 yards. It has a good shine to it and is not entirely matt like merino. This fleece is very uniform in color and the skein would make a good garment, depending on how wool sensitive you are.

And a little closer. Not quite as small as fingering weight but not bulky either.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Slow Spinning Update

This is the first half of the skein of what will be fingering weight yarn from the combed Corriedale fiber (Tim). There are probably many ways to do this, but what I do is to weigh out each half of the skein. The basket below is holding 2.3 ounces of combed fiber. The spool above is holding the exact same amount. When I finish spinning the fiber in the basket I will ply the two spools together. This wool is spun worsted with a short forward draw as opposed to the long backward draw of woolen. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Slow Wool & Projects

This is how the morning is beginning here at the sunrise of the week. The bunny (who has been absent from this blog FAR TOO long) has been out checking out the little bunny yard that I've constructed for him outside. This is basically a dog exercise yard that can be moved around, which is helpful because Harper does not like heat and sunlight. As you can see he is in Large Bunny mode and about ready to be sheared again. He produces about 8 ounces each shearing which happens about three times a year. Harper is a Satin Angora.

Slow wool - also know as clean fleece ready to be combed. This is part of the combing for this week. A super nice Corriedale that won the NM State Fair Blue Ribbon. From Westfarthing Farm in Edgewood, NM. The sheep is named Tim McGraw........ how do country singers feel about having sheep named after them? Is it because you like the singer or because you don't?????

This last project is the beginning of the knitting needles we sell that are size 50. I paint the tops and this being so close to Easter a friend asked me to paint some wooden eggs he made. That is all on the docket too....

Hope you all have a grand week.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Slow Wool

This year I gave myself the gift of an online class with Jude Hill of Spiritcloth. She has one of the nicest blogs and class formats that I've run across on the Internet. Taking her class and working along with the other participants has made me think a lot about the work I do with yarn and fiber. Jude often talks about the concept of slow cloth, whereby a person creates artwork by hand with a lot of thought. The process takes time and evolves incrementally. Sometimes the artwork changes from the original inception and sometimes the artwork changes the artist through the process of working and thinking. Maybe all good artwork does that....
In my own artwork I tend to work quickly with a purpose in mind and the goal just out of reach. Those carrots keep me working diligently - which is a good thing when you work for yourself. But recently I discovered a way to use the mindful techniques that Jude has lead us through in class with my yarn and fiber preparation. I've been combing wool. Wool combs date back at least as far as the Vikings (some are even referred to as Viking Combs) and have been a primary way that spinners prepared fiber. I had recently purchased some raw wool from the Taylor Ranch up in Pinon, NM. Mr Taylor raises Rambouilett Columbia cross sheep and sold me two huge bags of wool.

 The only drawback was that this wool was some of the dirtiest stuff I have ever seen. It is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the girls up in Northern NM who coat their entire flock (See the previous post about the Rio Nutrias Ranch).

 This wool was so dirty I thought it was from GRAY sheep!!! Even after washing thoroughly
there was so much vegetable matter/stickers/thorns/holly in it that to touch it was terrible.

Then my fiber muse Betty suggested that it could be combed. I was apprehensive at first because the combs always looked to me like weapons of torture. (St Blaise was martyred that way.)
I borrowed a set of Wheel Thing minicombs and set to work. Initially it took me four hours to clean enough wool for a one ounce sample.

Fortunately I get faster with practice and was able to move more quickly. It is still a slow process but not nearly as time consuming as the first batch.
This is Rambouilett combed and being pulled through a shell diz.

These are three samples of two ply yarn entirely cleaned and combed by hand. The middle one that is white is the Rambouilett Columbia cross that came from the Taylor Ranch in Pinon - it is fingering weight.
 The black one is a naturally black Wensleydale from Rio Nutrias. The orange Rambouilett was dyed after being cleaned but before being combed and spun - also from Rio Nutrias. 

Of course it was not long before I discovered that it is possible to blend colors on the combs....

The entire process made me think about how I spin yarn and my relationship with the animals. It is important to me that the animals I spin from have a decent life, get to roam free and don't die to give up their wool. Knowing that makes the whole thing more life affirming and better all the way around. This brings me to the concept (via Jude) of Slow Wool. The objective is not to card as much as possible but to card with passion, attention and enjoyment.