This is the first step in my quest for the perfect yarn for a project idea. It’s taken a couple weeks for this round of experiments.
So…I got this idea that I want to weave a shawl from my handspun yarn to wear on chilly days at my renfair shop, maybe for next spring if things go well. Need to spin yarn first. So had to design and prep fibers first. Then spin samples. See which properties I like the best. Then another round of experiments control-freaking my yarn coming up
Pics below of the process. Read further for gory details if you’re interested.
(This is your tl:dr warning line)
On the yarn design, there’s things like the color combinations, and mixing fiber properties that give something lofty, warm, soft. Plus sampling for spinning style and grist (size/density) of yarn.
There was some wool fiber on sale at Scrap in Denton. And then I got to thinking this would be a good time to stash-dive some fibers lurking in my garage too. And there’s a local shop that sells dyed bamboo in pretty colors for accents. Don’t really want to mess with dyeing this go-round if I can use/find what I want.
So, I’ve spent a couple weeks experimenting with my first round of samples. I expect to tweak this some.
First, had to process the raw fleece. Wash, then in this case, combed it (the pointy things in the picture), which gets all the trash out and leaves the results ready to spin or blend with other fibers.
Next pic is the combing I did in CA the other day:
Then time to blend the various fibers/colors together. My initial inspiration was kinda of a stormy sea vibe, blues/grey with green/brown undertones. Turns out I’m really loving the green/brown touches, and more black alpaca, darker overall vs the lighter values. Hmmm.
In the mix this round:
• the cheap commercial wool base from Scrap for shot of color (dark/light blue)
• camelids (grey and black alpaca in this case, cinnamon llama as backup idea) for softness, warmth, and drape (from stash)
• wool from a fleece from my stash for adding loft and texture (and good grief, I need to work through some fleeces). First round used a silver Romney (sheep breed) with shots of brown. It’ll add a hairy lofty texture
• bamboo (teal and bronze) for silky sheen and color and drape (shopping from local artist)
Below is the blending process on drumcarder (the round thing) that I did one evening at a Fiberfrolic in CA. The batt (fluffy sheet in upper left) is the result and will be torn into strips and spun next.
Then to sample spinning styles. Goal is soft, lofty, fuzzy yarn to use as weaving weft (the side to side woven yarn on shuttle vs warp, which is the yarn threaded lengthwise on loom). Below, bottom-center is kind of a before/after. More grey, pretty enough, but the left center is the darker value sample I’m liking most and will gear the next samples towards. And of course, all under close cat supervision.