Saturday, September 06, 2014

spinning at the spin count

The other afternoon, I looked down into the basket beside my spinning chair and it was empty.

What had been a 6 or 7 pound bump of combed top was 60 or 70 hanks of singles.  However, I have stash beyond reasonable life expectancy so I went upstairs and got the last of the Blue Romney, oiled the wheel, and started spinning.

The drive band was on the outer whorl - set to insert 18 tpi. Of course the result was worsted single with a cross section of about 22 to 26 fibers or staples.  I spun a hank of 560 yards and it weighed ~ 12 grams, so I spun a couple of more.  I did not measure them, but I expect that they are close to 22,400 ypp.

Yes, it sucks up twist, but the actual spinning is remarkably easy. At about the spun count, yarns just sort of self assemble. That fiber had to be drafted and coaxed to form a 5,600 ypp single for gansey yarn (containing ~320 fibers in cross section).  It has to be drafted and coaxed to form an 11,000 ypp single, and that drafting and coaxing takes a certain effort. It takes less drafting effort to turn it into a yarn with a grist equal to its spin count.

Some of those singles will become warp for flannel shirting.  The weft for that will be spun from Rambouillet. I will be back to drafting and coaxing yarns with a cross section of  ~100 fibers, except that these singles will have a grist of 22,000 ypp.  From here, it seems that I have made some bad choices in fiber selection and spinning Rambouillet at 22,000 ypp will involve significant effort.  On the other hand, I do not know any other way of producing a very soft shirting flannel.  Perhaps shirting flannel is just a lot of work any way it is done - something about 8 pounds of the stuff requiring a quarter million yards of single.

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