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Spinning Saga - Santa Cruz Island sheep wool!

posted May 19, 2016, 11:09 AM by Lynn Moody
So, in order to feature Santa Cruz Island sheep wool in the Fibershed Wool Book (check out the Fibershed website for more information if you are interested), I was directed to send 200 yards of mill-spun yarn OR 8 ounces of scoured fiber ready for spinning.  I did not have any mill spun yarn, so I sent the 8 ounces.  Actually I sent about 9 ounces, plus two more ounces (as directed) for, I think, felting.  The spinner engaged by the program said, too short staple cannot be spun (has she never heard of COTTON??!).  So, sez I (via email), send back the wool (except for the felting amount) and I will spin it.  Which they did.  So I did.

So, I carded the white Santa Cruz Island wool on our sample card, got some lovely rolags and bats, and off I went.  Photo on the left below shows a rolag, my left hand (not really that big), my right knee, and a little bit of the spinning wheel. 


 And here is my knee with a single in progress.  Other bobbin is in the photo also.
Here we go, plying.  I almost always make two-ply yarn, wonderful for knitting, so I did for the Fibershed also.

 Here are a couple shots of the yarn wound off on the niddy-noddy.  This was well over 400 yards of yarn at this stage.
The next step was to wash it to clean out any last bits of dirt or grease and, most importantly, to set the twist and let the yarn bloom.  It is hung on a dowel, suspended on two hanging baskets.  I don't weight the skein, I have found it blooms more nicely without weighting it and it is already pretty well balanced from the plying.
And here is the finished yarn, ready to ship back to Fibershed.  Along with blooming - the yarn gets a little thicker and VERY elastic - the yarn shortens, at this point it is 300+ yards. 

I received the wool back on a Monday afternoon, carded it Tuesday morning, began spinning Tuesday afternoon, and spun and plyed part time through Sunday.  Washed and dried the wool on Monday, and put it back in the mail to Fibershed on Tuesday.  I wanted to get it done asap so I could move on to other projects.  I still have lots to do - I am picking and getting ready for carding the rest of the fleece (same fleece I used for the Fibershed project), and work on Ponyo's wool, and Buck's llama fiber (Jim requested a sweater), and in the meantime I have a couple pounds of peas to shell, blanch, and freeze.  And gardening to do.  And irrigation line maintenance.  And lambing coming up soon.

I also have been refining my wool scouring process and want to get some revisions on our Processing our Fiber page of this website - will post it on this blog also.  And some other stuff...there is always stuff.

Back to the peas.



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