Friday, 13 August 2010

The sheep

There's still a sheep covering most of the spare floor space in my studio.

I washed it - I think - weekend before last, and what with having a lot of wet, rainy weather and a damp house I still keep finding damp spots in it. So on the floor it sits, and every day I check it and turn bits over in the hope they'll dry. But yesterday, I finally got on to the carding bit.

My drum carder is an Ashford, with a fine set of teeth. Perfect for this kind of wool. I've been pre-selecting the wool and choosing the softest, whitest parts of the fleece to card for the first batch. I run the wool twice through the carder. In the first pass, I break the fleece up into tiny locks with the staple intact and run them through it. It's important not to overload the carder or you end up with an uneven result. Then I doff the fleece and roll it into a rolag. You can see the metal doffer (like a lone metal poker) in the image below.
This gives me a long rectangle of carded fleece, which I break up again into thin pieces and run through the carder again. This breaks out a lot of uneveness in the fleece and gives me a nice smooth piece of fibre, with all of the individual hairs pointing in the same direction.

Four hours of this work resulted in this (pen for scale) :
12 nice, large rolags of fleece which have barely touched the whole fleece, but are enough to get me started. I'm pleased with how even this yarn is turning out. It's possible to get it quite fine, but I'm working towards a DK-weight 3-ply yarn (for strength, softness and longevity) so I'm not spinning as fine as I normally do.
I set to on the spinning in earnest last night, and hold hopes to have the first bobbin of yarn completed by the end of this weekend.


  1. Hey, I started down that dangerous path this past winter - I find the experience therapeutic because I'm not aiming for anything in particular, only to make something for myself, so far.

    I don't even understand the language of spinning, and for now, that suits me find. My thinking cap has kept my head warm all summer, but now that I've had a haircut, I don't have enough bulk nor the ponytail to hold the hat on my head. Perhaps I need another thinking cap??


  2. This was a great post I've never seen carded fleece in the big rolls like that very interesting. The yarn that your spinning looks wonderful. Do you have any idea how much yardage you will have once you get it all plied?

  3. Thank you for your comment on mye last blog post. I find whole fleeces very fascinating, so full of possibilities and very satisfactory to make a garment from scratch. Are you going to weave with the yarn?