Archive for January, 2019

Breed Experiments – Gotland

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

This Gotland braid in “Party Popper” from The Sherpherd’s Hut was rather brighter than I was expecting!  A lot of bright pink!

The fibre drafted and spun beautifully, and the pinks and purples mingled really nicely :o)


On the blending board it behaved well, even though I forgot to actually take a photo of the rolags, they were good I promise!

My woolen spinning is definitely getting more consistent with practise and I managed to get the colours to line up pretty well again :o)


Breed Experiments – Falkland

Friday, January 25th, 2019

More fibre from The Shepherd’s Hut, this time it is some Falkland in ‘Pink Purple’ :o)

Another easy spin with this one – drafted nicely for a quick and fairly even worsted spin :o)

The colours are more patchy on this one, and whilst I lined up the colours it hasn’t created any large matched sections.

On the blending board it wasn’t easy to decide how to spread the fibres since the colours are so mixed together.  I did manage some colour separation though :o)  I struggled a little removing the rolags but I think that was just me having a silly moment!

I ended up with 7 rolags and remembered to use the scales to split them up this time :o)

Ended up with just a few inches extra on one bobbin compared to the other!  Never matched so well before :o)

My woolen spinning is still less even than worsted, but I’m sure that’s just because I need more practise with the technique.  The fibre was behaving nicely as there were moments when it spun beautifully.  Then I’d be distracted by the TV and it would get lumpy again ;o)

Breed Experiments – Finnish

Monday, January 21st, 2019

The next order of fibre arrived from The Shepherd’s Hut last week and the first one I grabbed was this beautiful Finnish in “Butterfly Wings” :o)

This was really easy to spin and just drafted really consistently.  Once I noticed how nicely it was spinning I actually took a little more time over it to make sure I was being as consistent as possible :o)

The final yarn has lovely colour separation and impressive consistency for me :o)  I really enjoyed this spin!

Making rolags was a much more pleasant experience with this after that naughty Charollais!  I managed to spread the colours out pretty well and made my usual 8 rolags :o)

Unfortunately I forgot to weigh them before spinning and ended up with quite a bit more on one bobbin than the other.  Thank goodness for Andean Plying so I could get all the way to the end even if it did mess up the colours a bit.

The colours aren’t quite as well separated with this one, and the consistency isn’t as good either – but I think that’s more down to me needing more practise with long draw than with the fibre! :o)

This one suffered from blue leakage again :o(  I had very blue hands from the spinning and the sink confirmed it.  Thankfully only 3 washes required this time to get it running clear enough at least! ;o)

Breed Experiments – Charollais

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

The last of my first set of fibres from The Shepherd’s Hut is this Charollais

The individual fibres have an interesting crimp to them which makes it feel really sproingy and stretchy!

This weird stretchiness actually made it rather challenging to spin for me.  The fibres just wanted to stretch rather than draft out neatly.  Plus the ply back tests all looked kinda weird whilst I was spinning the singles.  Thankfully it actually plied up nicely despite the oddity :o)  It only just all fit on my bobbin which was a surprise!  I didn’t actually weigh this yet so maybe I have more than 50g?  Or maybe all that bounce has made fatter yarn?


The second half I put on the blending board, and then regretted it somewhat.  These fibres did not want to come off the blending board easily!  Nor was there much variation in colour to spread out on the board.

I ended up with 4 rather fat, dense rolags rather than my usual 8.  At least I did manage to get it off in the end ;o)

I opted for a long draw again which was slightly easier than my short backward draw for the first half, although quite uneven in places.

Another very full bobbin after plying – this fibre is definitely a weird one!  I’m not sure it will be usable in the final project as it is quite a bit thicker than the others at present.  I’ll have to see how it feels once washed :o)

Breed Experiments – Corriedale

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

The third braid from The Shepherd’s Hut is this lovely Corriedale in ‘Purple Gem’

These fibres have a slight crimp to them and it was incredibly easy to spin!  I felt like I was spinning at super speed as it was drafting really consistently so I very rarely had to slow down or stop to fix a thick or thin section.  Lovely! :o)


On to the blending board with the second half and I used a similar method to last time, with all the deep purple on the left and lighter purple to the right.

There wasn’t quite so much colour differentiation here, but the rolags do clearly have a dark end and light end :o)

I used my alternating ends of the rolags trick again to make the sections of colour larger to give me more opportunity for them to line up.  I also tried using an actual woolen spin with something resembling a long draw.  It was a little tricky to start with so it’s not exactly a consistent spin in places, but it has certainly made fluffier yarn!

Fluffy yarn! I have yet to decide if this is a good thing or not ;o)  I suspect an actual knitting sample will be required too see if that fluffiness is soft or itchy.  Liking the sections of colour though and this really was fast and easy to spin :o)

Breed Experiments – Shetland/Tussah Silk

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Apparently I’ve been spinning a lot! :o)  I’d better catch up on some writing or I’ll end up far behind!  Over the weekend I spun up another 2 braids but I’ll split them across 2 posts for easier referencing later.  The first one was this Shetland and Tussah Silk mix, again from The Shepherd’s Hut.

Here’s a rare photo of me actually doing the spinning as Amy was quite insistent on being a part of the process!  She seems to have decided that a slightly wobbly lap is better than not getting to sit on me :o)

The first half I just gave a little pre-draft and then started spinning.  This was really easy to spin and was making a very consistent thickness, even with Amy in the way!  The silk has a beautiful sheen to it and makes the fibre feel soft.  I split the half down the middle and spun both from the same end and you can see there are spot where the colours lined up – particularly that pink stripe in the middle :o)

For the second half I grabbed my blending board again :o)  I know I can get about 25g on my board comfortably so far, so I again split the fibre in half lengthways to make sure all the rolags had a similar colour mix.  I just added the fibre straight from the long length onto the board, putting the blue patches at the bottom, the bright pink ones at the top, and purples in the middle.

The resulting rolags have clear colour separation in them and somehow look nothing like the braid I started with!  I love how shiny these look thanks to the silk :o)

To get larger sections of the colours I opted to spin the rolags in alternating directions.  The first from blue to pink, the second from pink to blue, and so on.  This has given more clearly defined sections of colour in the final yarn.  Although at the same time, by blending them, the colours are more muted – the bright pink has been calmed down a little.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not ;o)  It was a little harder to spin from the rolags, but that might be because I’m not as used to them yet.  I was pre-drafting the rolags through habit, and tried spinning straight from them for the second half which was actually easier.

Here are both skeins before washing to show the difference in colours.

I had a little problem washing them with some dye leakage.  I had a very blue sink!  After 9 washes I think they’re okay now :o)

Breed Experiments – BFL/Nylon

Friday, January 11th, 2019

I decided it was time to try something other than Merino and thanks to The Shepherd Hut having a January sale I purchased a variety of fibre all in purples :o)

My plan is to try each braid at least two ways and then make a crazy cardigan out of the whole lot when I’m done :)

First up I decided to go for the BFL with trilobal nylon in “Minty Purple”. The nylon adds a lot of sparkle to the fibre which has quite a lot of lustre itself.

I started by splitting the braid in half and the first half I just spun straight from the combed top. Predrafting and then spinning, a simple 2 ply.

The fibre is pretty soft and easy to spin. It didn’t feel too different to the merino I’m used to. The nylon sparkles ended up everywhere! ;o) I suspect I will be finding them for weeks to come :o)

The nylon sticks out quite a lot and I’m concerned it might feel itchy.

I thought spinning from rolags might help trap the nylon inside better so I had fun with my new blending board splitting up the colours to make these:

I find spinning from rolags a little more challenging to keep even and there are a few bumps here and there. It did seem to trap the nylon better though!

It’s really hard to capture the colours well in the dismal lighting conditions at present!  I think the photos on the bobbins are probably the closest to reality.

They’re now both soaking and I’ll need to compare them properly once they’re dried :o)