My weekend down in Berkshire was loads of fun, I managed to find several new fibres to experiment with and played with some new spinning techniques as well. I managed to come home with only a
small moderate pile of purchases - some Spin-Off back issues, Landscape dyes, a colour wheel, mini niddy-noddy, and a few hundred grams of fibre. More interestingly though - here is what I played with over the weekend…
The Camel fibre was very nice to spin. Fluffy and soft and not too short. I didn’t buy any of this as I’m not a huge fan of pale brown, and I already have a little bit of Camel in my stash.
Milk Protein was a new one. It is a bit like soy fibre to spin, a fairly long staple and luxurious without having the annoying fly-away quality you get with silk. I have no idea what I would do with it though!
The silk cocoons were lots of fun - they actually draft really easily: just hold the cocoon in the back hand and draw the fibres off with your forward hand. The yarn has a bit of texture, like you would get from silk hankies, and is quite fuzzy (although that might just be the low twist in this sample) I bought a load of these and have big plans for them!
I have been looking for some Possum fibre for a while - in Australia at Christmas I couldn’t even find any yarn - all the supplier had was made-up garments at that time. This is a blend which makes the extremely short fibre a bit easier to manage. It’s harder than spinning plain merino, but holds together ok and makes a lovely fuzzy yarn. I tried some pure Possum as well (see below), but need to get out my support spindle I think as it just wasn’t playing ball.
I bought a pile of this particular batt - falling in love with the colours and texture. It’s not at all my type of fibre usually - hence the trialling of new techniques. I tend to spin smooth, crisp and reasonably fine. This batt, however, begged me to use a long-draw method and make a thicker, textured yarn. The neppy silk makes lovely little slubs and textures and the colours blend into soft squidgy yumminess. You can’t really tell from the mini skein I know, but I have 200g of this so there is more to come.
Finally, the Yak fibre (de-haired according to the label on the bag). This was also very short but not as bad as the possum. I gave up on the wheel - I may be able to get it to work but I was using a borrowed wheel and couldn’t figure out how to fine-tune it the way I wanted. I switched to a very light spindle and managed the 2-ply with no problems. It’s a lovely soft yarn, a lot like the pink cashmere I spun a while back.
These four I grabbed handfulls of but quickly realised I would need to either blend with something (we forgot to take hand cards with us), have my own wheel, or use the support spinde. I like the feel of the cotton - it’s probably going to be quite easy to draft compared to the carded cotton I’ve tried in the past.
Yesterday, as Londoners will know, was butt-bitingly freezing and rainy and windy. I decided I desperately need a new hat even though the daffodils are trying to convince us that spring is coming. So as soon as I got home, I spun up 50g of some deep burgundy/red merino I bought - it’s squidgy and yummy! Once I have the other 50g done I’m going to make a Koolhaas for me. (sorry, red is terribly hard to photograph - I’ll keep trying).