I thought it was about time for me to show you what I’ve been working on. This is 6 out of about 10 ounces of fiber dyed by Carol Lee. Mostly it yellow, green, and navy, but there are bits of red in there, too. The goal? A 3 ply with a good deal of twist that should make good socks. Due to the amount of twist I want to put in, I can get away with spinning this semi-woolen (or semi-worsted? Is that splitting hairs?). The idea is that I can spin long draw. When you have kids and a homeschool and a husband and a home business…..spinning time is precious and fast yardage is necessary. A quickly filling bobbin is just satisfying, you know?
The way this wool was dyed is totally random so even within the same 2-3 inch section there are variations. Thus I’m not trying to make stripes or anything, just spinning as is and I’ll let it all do what it wants.
Here I’m holding the end of my first 2 oz length of combed top. I held the end tightly in my right hand, and pulled, holding the left hand back at least a staple and a half. I was aiming for 4-5 inches to come off. Here it is pulled off:
Next, I drew the fiber out, and fluffed it sideways to make a long flat ‘batt’. I generally doubled the length, just pulling a bit at a time, then moving a bit down the fiber and pulling again, repeating a few times.
All right, yes that is WAY too thick for a 3 ply sock yarn. I did thin it out considerably after this. Trying to spin with one hand and take pictures with the other was beyond me, as I do a supported long draw. Also at that time, my Lendrum was shaking like crazy anytime I got any speed going. I discovered when unpacking my wheel after Wisconsin Sheep and Wool that two of my rubber feet had come off. I pried off the other, and now Lizzie spins just great again. Whew.
Anyway, I did the rolags for about half the first two ounces, and then I just went to spinning a single staple length from the fold. With the rolag, you have more fiber in there, so you are actively spining for longer, although you are also doing more prep. I get snatches of time, so to pull off a staple, fold it over my finger, and spin it fits in my schedule. My quicky rolags also had a tendency to wad up at the end, requiring a bit of re-ordering.
So what have you found works best for you to get a woolenish yarn from combed top?