Saturday, December 31, 2011

Isn't this a lovely sight?

Matchless and Traditional

I must say, I had forgotten that the Traditional has a larger drive wheel than the Matchless.  It's only a 2.5" difference (22" vs 19.5"), but that combined with the inherently larger footprint of a Saxony wheel makes the Matchless seem so much smaller by comparison.

I finished the first bobbin of superfine merino I started spinning after I repaired my wheel, and decided to spin one of my Christmas bundles of fiber.  This is some gray wool that my dad got for me- he and Emma took a drive down to the yarn store in Baker City (45 minutes south) the first day he was here, and picked out this wool from him and some raw alpaca fiber from Emma.  (This was completely unprompted by me!)

The wool came in a 250 gram bump of carded roving, and I think it had been in that form for a while.  I could tell that it was nice wool, but it was sticky, very compacted, and didn't draft well.  It wasn't felted, but it wasn't really spinnable as is.

I divided the roving into 50 gram pieces (one carder load), and washed them in mesh bags.  A little hot water, soap, and rinsing, and the roving came out unstickified and much easier to draft.  I sent it through the carder once, and it became beautiful and puffy and delicious.

gray mystery wool

Then I stripped each batt into four pieces, wound them up into nests to avoid flyaways, and I'm ready to spin!

gray mystery wool

I was not at all disappointed that I had to go through the extra steps of washing and re-carding this roving.  It gave me a chance to use my carder!

I don't know for sure what kind of wool it is. The tag that came with it said "New Zealand carded sliver- light gray", so that wasn't terribly helpful.  It definitely isn't Merino, which is the first thing most handspinners think of when faced with something labeled "New Zealand wool";  I'm thinking it's something more along the lines of Romney, which is another very common New Zealand breed.  This isn't next-to-the-skin-soft wool, but it will make great sweater yarn. It has a nice luster, and as long as I don't overtwist it, it's reasonably soft.

I spun 8 of the 20 nests this afternoon, about 100 grams and a mostly full bobbin.  I'm loving my newly repaired wheel- it's so quiet now.


aknitter said...

What a cool thing for your Dad and Emma to do. I love the color! I've been spinning a lot the past couple days.... and loving it! Bring show and tell on Tuesday.

cyndy said...

That wool looks splendid!

Happy New Year !!