Friday, February 27, 2015

Fine Woolen

I have spun more than 10,000 yards of  fine woolen singles in the last few months.  Most of it was spun by drum carding Rambouillet into ~48 gram batts, and then while the batt is still on the drum carder using a wooden  doffer to roll/peel off an 8 inch long rolag that weights ~8 grams, e.g., 6 rolags per batt..  Those rolags  get spun at 12 tpi into just under 100 yards of woolen yarn intended for weft.  It is fast and easy, true woolen.

However, looking at In Sheep's Clothing ( ) at minute 6, I see how light and fluffy her rolags are. I thought that would produce a more lofty yarn than the rather dense rolags that I peel off the drum carder.

My hand carding skills were a bit rusty, so it took a while to hand card nice rolags that were well formed and lighter, fluffier than the rolags peeled off the drum carder. ( I made a point of watching an expert make  rolags from a drum carder the other day, and checking their density, and I was a little disappointed that Roy Clemes did not have time for that part of  his demo.)  However, I find that hand carded rolags can be spun into a loftier yarn than I can produce from the rolags peeled off the drum carder.   And they draft out a little better.

Since my spinning speed is limited by how fast the fiber drafts, better drafting means I can spin faster, which compensates for the little extra time that I spend hand carding the rolags. And the singles are a bit loftier.  My guess is that this would make a bigger difference with lower grist yarns.

Just saying that if you want a loftier woolen yarn, try hand carded rolags.  Once you have nice, clean, uniform fiber (from drum carder or roving), it is not that much extra effort.

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