Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Having blended together some fibres (usually alpaca with wool) I decided that, with proper hand-carders to work with now, I should try my hand at blending different fibres.  There are a few braids of wool roving in my stash that I considered playing with, but since I'd clearly not started any of them it seemed what I needed to do was buy some wool with the intention of blending. Additionally, the wool I was thinking of is 8oz (which I'd rather keep for a single project) and is already brown/neutral - which would hide the additional fibres.  I want to be able to see my blending and have visual evidence in the yarn.

So, some of my Christmas yarn shopping included a braid of green BFL from Sweet Georgia.  I have silk noil (top) and yak down (bottom) in my stash from a destash purchase long ago that have been waiting for me to blend. I also thought it was time to blend in some angora (left).

(Yes, my home is dry. The angora tells you so.)

I experimented a little with how I wanted to layer, whether I wanted to use some or all of the fibres, and if I liked the spinning.  I settled on a thin layer of BFL followed by very thin amounts of the other 3, with a little more of the angora, and then another thin layer of BFL on top before carding into rolags.

The resulting singles are tweedy with the noil; I like the texture.  The yak down is blending in quite well and the luster of the BFL is complimented by the other fibres.  The natural, light colour of the other fibres is enhancing the lovely Botanical (colourway) green of the BFL.

I started spinning on my homemade top-whorl, but I found the speed was too fast and I didn't have the sort-of-long-draw control I wanted for this blend of short and long fibres. I wound on to a medium sized Turkish spindle and this is working well. I prefer my spindles for experimenting with smaller amounts of fibre, especially when my wheel bobbins are occupied with large lace projects (as usual). So far I have prepared 12 rolags. For the sake of testing I'll spin 6+6 and ply to see what yarn I achieve.
I also timed how long it took me to prepare 8 rolags. Or, more accurately, I tested to see how many rolags I could make while watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (a 55min episode, but only about 50min of rolag-making).  I made 8. That's roughly 6 minutes each (6 and a quarter, but my measurements of time in this case are all approximate so I'll stick with 6 min), which is 4 minutes faster than combing and carding fleece (from my previous post).  It takes a lot more carding to blend to my satisfaction whereas it's usually the combing that takes the most time with the fleece.

Final Yarn Update:
The remaining BFL, blended, yielded another 29 rolags. With all the fibre spun up I have about 250m of squishy worsted-aran weight yarn.

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