Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Time to Spin, Part 8: Dead plants, just in time for spring

Now that we're mostly settled in to the house, I'm starting to root through my spinning stash, which has been packed up too long. Since I have way too much wool (DorsetX, anyone? I have 2.5 full fleece here...), I was able to walk past most raw fleece I came across last year with a clear head and conscience. Overall I've done well at not accumulating more raw fleece. Agreed, I had a lapse a couple weeks ago, with that little bit of Romni I found, but it hardly smells at all, so I don't really think it counts, right?

This does not mean that I haven't continued to accumulate spinning stash, oh no. The Pennsic plant-fibre haul from Brush Creek Wool Works is finally about to see the light of day:

There is bamboo top...

...and flax top...

...and hemp!

Honestly, I don't know how to spin any of this. It will be a learning experiment this spring. I know the flax will spin up smoother if I spin wet, and I assume the hemp is similar.

In the meantime, I've broken in the Forrester Turkish spindle with some green eucalyptus-dyed-tin-mordanted wool, also from BCWW. This spindle spins like a dream. It might be the fastest and longest-spinning spindle I have.

I was right, the spindle does look even better with yarn on it

I want to make it a tradition of buying one bag of naturally-dyed roving from BCWW every year. In '06 it was the Brazilwood-tin-mordanted pink wool that became my very first spinning, so I feel like they're a big part of my spinning history. Even if I don't get to their booth in-person some year, I will try to have someone pick something up for me to keep up the tradition. Of course, it helps that they have wonderful stuff.

During the early fall dyeing adventures, only the first of which I have documented so far, I had reason to order cochineal as well as alum, copper, tin and iron mordants from various places. At the same time, I ordered several spare heddles for my loom in preparation for a related group project that is still in the planning stages. Somewhere among all that ordering, a few other things found their way into my cart:

a Strauch flick carder that will come in handy for some of this fleece, I think

Indigo Hound four-pitch English combs, with accessories

These combs came with the base, wood rods to hold the combs in place on the base, a PVC diz (not pretty, but it does the job), covers for the Very Sharp Teeth, and I think those metal rods are doffers, to clean leftovers from between the Very Sharp Teeth. There is also an intelligently written instruction booklet with a lot of good tips and information, including amusing but important points like: [Remember to] comb with the teeth pointed away from you and anyone else. The object is to comb the fiber and not yourself.

The wooden vice-grip thing in the left of the picture is a base for my single-pitch viking combs. It came with the small c-clamp, but it really needs two clamps to hold it firmly. A trip to Lee Valley solved that problem pretty quick.

And before I realized that the combs came with a diz, I had already ordered this one:

A nice metal diz for pulling roving off of combs

Bad clicky finger. Bad.

I want to wait for warmer weather and set up the English combs in the backyard to tackle the remainder of the DorsetX. I anticipate veggie matter flying everywhere. Whee, fun!

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