Saturday, May 9, 2015

Shetland Fleece realizations

I picked up a bag of Shetland fleece (one wash; still "in the grease") at last year's local fibre festival.  At first I was trying to spin it with minimal prep and for a thick yarn.  It wasn't great.

More recently, as I gear up for processing a lot more fleeces, I thought I should try some better fibre prep and I experimented on the Shetland.

As I worked with the bag of fibre, I realized it has quite a lot of second cuts in it. Not fun.  I also discovered I'll be trashing a fair amount as I process. Oh well. It was not expensive. Guess this is why.

Decided to try combing (with a small metal pet comb) some of the locks and using my dog-brush carders to flick the cut end.  Then started spinning a few of those and realized that the fibre was much happier when spun more fine.
You can see the finer spinning on the right of the tube and then a new bobbin of fine spinning.

 I prepared more locks in this manner and carded the not-clear-locks parts into little rolags to spin on the Turkish spindle.

Not the fanciest tools, but they are getting the job done and cost me next to nothing at the dollar store. Comb set has a very fine flea comb and a fine comb. I use the latter.  Here you can see the comb (and its holder) to the top left next to some combed and flicked locks next to some fine-spun fibre. Next is the sample on a tube and the spindle of rolag-prep'd spinning above a wee rolag. Raw Shetland on the bottom and my dollar store dog brushes.

This Shetland went from not-so-fun spinning to dream-spinning.

It was a good lesson, for myself, in the importance of fibre preparation.

For comparison, here is a finished skein of the lace-weight combed Shetland and a skein of the (nicer than previous attempts) Shetland spun from the cloud of the mixed-fibres (with dark fibres) that seems to do best simply being spun without further prep.  Both were spun and plied worsted style - with shorter draws (than my usual) and with my right hand compressing/smoothing the twisted fibres (not my usual either).

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