Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Carding and Spinning Oil

I just posted that fleece needs to be clean before it can be processed.  That is true, it needs to be clean so that it drops all of the grit that was on it.

It also needs oil for carding and spinning.  I use olive oil at a rate of between 1% and 2% by weight. That is, if I have 4 ounces (112 gram) of clean wool to card/ spin, I add a couple of grams (~  less than 1/2teaspoon) of olive oil.

I have it in one of those oil misters that are sold in gourmet shops, and clean samples of wool going into the carder for the first time gets a squirt on each side. Everything goes through the carder several times.  Bats that feel dry either get carded together with bats that seem to have extra oil them, or dry bats get an extra squirt.

Big bins of wool get weighted amounts of oil, so that amount is more precise. Then they get mixed, sit in a warm place for a day, and get mixed again.  As the bats get blended the oil is evenly distributed through the wool.

"Vegetable oil" will oxidize, get sticky, and turn your fiber into a spinner's torment. Do not go there. Mineral oil is hard to clean off the yarn.  Either use the right oil, or do not oil.

Clean wool with a tiny amount of olive oil on it is the easy way to card, comb, and spin.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

there is a recipe for a spinning oil mix in Alden Amos's Big Book of Handspinning - it is a mix of soap and olive oil. For several reasons, the mix is better - and in the end, it is less work. But just olive oil is better than nothing.

And "vegetable" oil or adulterated olive oil is worse than clean wool. I bought "Extra virgin" olive oil from mixed European sources on sale and twice it was adulterated. Now, I only use oil from a local olive farm.