Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Collorary

The corollary to the Great Propositions is that I like to spin a single from a single grade of wool.

Not some blend of a whole fleece; not not some flock run blend, but a single grade grade selected by the trained and skilled eyes and fingers of a wool sorter.  Such batches of wool are rare these days.

Great yarns are spun from silk, alpaca, cashmere,and angora, but I am only thinking about wool today.

From a spinning view point, I do not see any reason what-so-ever for deliberate blends of different breeds of sheep. I see these blends as salesmanship to spinners that do not know any better. A fiber mix, may give the final fabric additional virtue, but they do not improve spinning.  By and large, uniform fibers with good fiber preparation improves spinning.

Similarly, I do not see any reason to add silk, alpaca, cashmere, or angora.  They may improve the final fabric, but they do not aid spinning.

I do not think that any type of  wool is harder or easier than any other wool to spin.  Each type, and perhaps each fiber preparation does require different techniques, and the use of the wrong technique(s) may make it appear that a particular wool is impossible to spin.  However, with the fiber prep and correct technique, it will spin easily.  In particular, fiber from commercial processes may have to be washed and carded/combed despite its being "combed top". What ever kind of wool it is, it needs to be grit free prior to spinning. One cannot spin a fine, consistent single from gritty fiber.

The orientation (butt/tip) of the fibers does make a difference to the hand spinner, but I like a random orientation in my finished yarns, and that is how I process my fiber. I think having the scales oppose each other results in a more stable yarn.

The above, with plenty of twist from a fast wheel with DRS controlled takeup gets us to the point where spinning wool at its spin count is reasonable.

Spinning wool singles of 45,000 ypp (100 yards per gram/ 200 wpi) is not mythical or magical.  It is just a set of spinning skills that were common in 1700, but are not common today.

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