Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fiber Fun

Thought I'd share just a little of what I've been up to recently, spinning-wise.

Yesterday I decided to try spinning up some cultivated silk sliver that was in my stash, that I'd purchased from Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks at the 2006 Knitters Review Retreat. I had originally thought I'd knit with it, sorta like people knit with unspun silk hankies. But in the interim I have learned how to spin, so decided to try it on one of my Golding drop spindles:

It was a lot easier to spin than I thought it would be. Drafting the silk sliver is sorta like drafting a fairly long staple-length wool, in that you need to keep your fingers/hands fairly far apart to allow the fibers to slide past each other and draft.

Now I'm wondering what I'll do with the singles once I have more of them spun up -- will I two-ply the silk to itself? Ply it with something like a merino? I don't know. But I don't really worry about those things when I spin. I spin for entertainment value alone. The yarn end-product is icing on the cake. I guess that makes me a process spinner, which is a good thing, since the process is slow-going on a spindle.

Here's a more recent fiber purchase:

That's about 8 oz. of Polwarth wool (an Australian breed that is a merino-Lincoln cross), in the "Summer Garden" colorway, purchased from What you see above is one long strip of roving, starting with the blue end on the left, dyed with large sections of single colors that graduate into the next color, ending with the purpley end on the right. I'm not exactly sure how this should be spun to its best advantage, but I have some time to consider that, as I most likely won't be spinning this until I get a wheel. is a Canadian company that is breed-specific to Polwarth, and they import the fiber from Australia. I decided I needed more of their fiber after receiving a little sample of it:

with one of my drop spindles. (Incidently, the spindle shown above, a Cocobolo spindle purchased from The Spanish Peacock, is not the spindle which came with the Polwarth sample.) Anyway, after spinning the sample, (in the "Brick" colorway), I was immediately hooked. The fiber is incredibly soft (as soft as BFL or merino, I think), and the bonus is that it has a longer staple length -- 4-6", making it quite lovely to spin. So, about a month ago I talked a few local spinning friends into going in on an order with me, and we received our fiber last week. Nice stuff.

And now I, along with thousands of others, are counting down the days (hours, minutes) until Maryland Sheep & Wool, where we'll get to fondle fiber and yarn to our heart's content. Can't wait! Hope to see you there!


Bess said...

What a beautiful spindle - that cocobolo one - temptation intself.

KSee said...

love the silk you are spinning. The spindle is so pretty

Anonymous said...

It's all so lovely! You know, this is just more proof that spindles are little works of art that create lovely yarns...

Snowbird said...

Love the time ticker at the top of your blog. Time will march on and you will look back and try to remember everything that you have put on your needles, gifted, etc. with joy in your heart. It is such a wonderful hobby.

Ranger Susie said...

Nice spinning job. I love your spindles.