Thursday, December 27, 2007

The final result of the Polypay fleece odyssey....


I hope everyone had a lovely holiday so far and that you're still enjoying some R&R before you have to go back to work. Me? I'm at work, knitting socks :) Not knitting socks on dp's or circs, but on big ass commercial knitting machines. More on that part of my life later, I promise!

Above, behold the final product of the 10# of polypay fleece I blogged about last time. Voila~from raw fleece to yarn! I'm pretty pleased with the colorway ~ I used 1 pound each of turquoise, charteuse and violet with 1.5# of natural white. I was surprised that more violet didn't show in the mix ~ very weird. The turquoise and charteuse blended together more than I expected as well. Had I done a swirl instead of a variegated roving, they would have each remained more distinct. The next variegated I do will be higher contrast in dark purple, pale charteuse, medium turquoise. Like picking colors for a quilt :)


This is a photo of the roving itself.

Several surprises with this fleece. I pretty much expected it to noil in the carding, and it did. It's fine wool and didn't have awesome staple length. I would say it was less than 3" for the most part. The other surprise is quite pleasant...almost no VM remained after all that hand picking and I fully expected there to be more since there were small pieces I just couldn't get at. Looks like the carder at Zeilinger Wool Co did a great job of getting rid of the rest for me:) Had I blended this with a bit of mohair, the noiling wouldn't have been so bad but polypay is really quite soft...lots of the same properties as merino but not quite as fine...and since I'd never worked with it before, I wanted to see what it would be like all on its own. It has a lot of elasticity and is nearly as soft as merino. My other option to eliminate the noils would have been to have it processed into combed top, but I only had ten pounds of raw fleece, which became like 6 after washing soooo...

If someone wants to spin a fine, even, smooth yarn, this wouldn't be the roving for them. If you want a bouncy, playful, kinda slubby thick and thin then get some! (It's going up for sale on my website this weekend) I first tried to spin the sample on my beloved Valkyrie Turkish spindle but it was way too slow for a fine, short stapled fiber like this. I mean, it would spin but the yarn was just ~ eh. As I gain more spindling experience, it's easy for me to know right away that the spindle is just wrong for the fiber and that the fiber would love to be spun on something else. Had I kept trying to spin this particular roving on that particular spindle, I would have found it ugly and frustrating. Back in the beginning of my spindling career, I probably would have just struggled along on the same spindle and I know that many of you probably only have one spindle to start with, and that's OK. In that case, you can try spinning thicker or thinner to see if it helps (and I've found that to be really important too!). But, sometimes, having at least one more spindle option can make a world of difference.

So, I switched to a much lighter, faster top whorl spindle and off we went! The roving requires quite a bit of twist and I found the new spindle made it possible to spin in more of a long draw fashion, which suited the fiber just fine. The little colored noils made fun slubs in the singles and the resulting 2-ply is soft enough for a child's garment with lots of bounce and fluffiness. This would be an excellent fiber to use as a fat single to ply with a thin commercial yarn or thread for some of that fun, artsy yarn without a whole lot of jumping through hoops to get there. It would be a really fast, easy spin on a wheel :)


This is some of my very first handspun ~ actually, it *is* the first handspun I ever did that was more than one small ball of slubby, nasty stuff.

I actually knit it into something kind of weird, kind of cool ~ not quite sure which! It's a scarf vest out of the TV issue of Knit 1 magazine and it was really easy to knit. Of course, it was nearly impossible with the uneveness of the yarn to get consistent gauge and the garment ended up a tad large but that's OK.


I ran out of handspun so did the collar and half of the fringe in some of my wool/silk laps, which worked out better, I think, than a collar in the handspun would have. Plus, the yarn has a lot of mohair and not-so-great wool and is a bit picky so the wool/silk against my neck is a better deal anyway.

I spent the week before Christmas spindling some lovely stuff for my Mom ~ I'll blog about it next. I also just recently (pre-Christmas) started spinning some of my very first Rambouillet, which is interesting. I have enough of "black" (really dark brown) and white to knit a funky little hat for going outside and doing chores. I'm not sure if the roving is just not-so-fab or if what I'm experiencing is typical of's kind of annoying to spin. ha! I'm spindling it ~ my wheel is going to be really occupied for the next couple of weeks as I have 4# of bearnese mountain dog swirled with some merino to spin for a lovely gentleman out east. Should be quite an experience ~ he wants it bulky, bless his heart, so I'll be sure to post about it as well.

Here's hoping Christmas was lovely for you! I got a Black and Decker "Mouse" sander from the DH...our home is still a construction zone and I've got a lot of furniture sanding in my future so believe it or not, that gift made me really happy :) I'll be back to blog some more soon ~ and I do want to say thanks to everyone that left comments and are glad I'm back ~ thanks so much!



At 2:54 AM, Blogger Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Glad you're back, and happy new year!

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Cindy Yeager said...

I was hoping to see your roving, but Photobucket says that it does not exist......... )o:

At 6:24 PM, Blogger Leah said...

I'm so sorry Cindy...I did some photobucket housekeeping and screwed up a bunch of pics so am in the process of fixing them. I hope you can come back and see them now!


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