Tuesday 22 June 2021

Learning a New Skill

Tatting has taken a bit of a backseat lately.  That's because about three weeks ago, I was given two fleeces by a local farmer friend.  I'd always wanted to try to make my own wool and there was my chance!

We went to watch him shear his sheep and then I walked away with two giant bags of raw wool.

This is the raw fleece above and below is what it looks like after washing.
It's surprising how much whiter it is after one wash.

Next I needed to learn carding so I purchased myself two carders and started to learn how to make rolags.

And then on to spinning!  Sadly I do not own a spinning wheel (a dream for one day) so I started with a homemade drop spindle.  I won't show you version one which didn't work very well but version two, made with two CDs , a cork, a homemade hook and a stick works a treat!  It spins really well and I even got the hang of the "thigh roll" which makes continuous spinning easier.

I then spun two plies together to make my very first quantity of 2 ply knitting wool!
Here it is photographed on top of the raw fleece
so you can see the difference in colour.

And finally,
I knitted a tiny bag with my first small ball of wool.

From sheep to knitting.
I really enjoyed the whole process.

I've got loads to learn still but I now plan on spinning as much of the fleece as I can (some bits are not as good as others which is something I need to learn how to identify) with the goal of making a whole jumper with wool I've spun myself.  I have now purchased a very tiny electric spinning wheel to speed up the process - although I do enjoy the experience of spinning with a drop spindle.  It was the cheapest wheel I could find and also the smallest but it works very well although it does mean the bobbins are not huge so I can only make about 25-30 grams of 2 ply at a time.

I'm making progress!

My fourth skein is currently drying.  Now I need to figure out what size my wool is but I'm guessing something in between a DK and an Aran size.  There is also the difficulty of trying to be consistent when spinning so your wool is all approximately the same size... not easy!

So that's what's kept me busy lately.

Best wishes,