Saturday, May 19, 2007

The other day I read some adamant views about the need to use a very light spindle for lace/fine spinning. While I realize it's a raging upstream struggle to encourage people to try using a heavier spindle for such spinning, occasionally I just have to put my oar in and try to turn the raft.

It's been awhile since I've worked on silk but I'm being drawn back to the slippery enchantment. (Okay, I admit, I'm bored right now with spinning the Chocolate bar. It's crazy since I'm closing in on finishing the three ounces of sock yarn.) Wednesday I got out a spindle with some spun silk hankie and twirled awhile. This is a 2.3oz lilac spindle handling the hankie just fine. ( #2 bloodwood needles and a penny for perspective.)
I love the way the spindle holds onto the spin for about 45 seconds. Spinning a pre-drafted silk hankie goes quickly, except for picking out the little slubs from the edges of the hankie.

Thursday evening while sorting and rebagging my fiber stash I came across this spindle Ed played around with in making. He loves working with copper and one day last winter made this spindle. It weighs 1.3oz and holds a spin 15 - 20 seconds, long enough to spin about 18" before it begins backspinning. I'd spun some at the time then had put it away since I prefer spinning most fibers with at least a 2oz spindle for the longer spin time and overall stability. It really is a matter of personal preference.
Tussah top can be a dream to spin. It slips so readily through the fingers. Drawbacks: moisture in hands makes it stick; if hands are dry it catches on any little fragment of dryness; thin, loose fibers tend to get everywhere.

I took this spindle and silk to The Purl District for the Spin and Yak session yesterday. We moved to Friday mornings in order to free up Saturdays for gardening and summer activities. We're finding this spin time is our Oasis in the week. The shop is quieter without the hordes of knitters/crocheters taking various lessons, along with the crowds coming and going on their way upstairs to Not Yo Mama's Coffee Shop. With more experience in testing many spindles and weights over the past few months I didn't mind using this spindle as much as when I first used it.

One thing I'm struggling with in spinning: there's simply not enough time to spin everything that's begging to be spun. I have some white cormo that needs cleaning and carding, a coil of soft brown llama that I haven't even tried, a couple ounces of angora, a bit of cashmere that needs de-hairing, and a couple pounds of Charolais of which I have only spun about an ounce.


Rhonna said...

One thing I'm struggling with in spinning: there's simply not enough time to spin everything that's begging to be spun.

Ok, I had to laugh. We are SOO not going to list what we have that's begging to be spun. (grin) I think this is how we end up with "stash." ;-)

But, wait--I thought Charolais was a breed of cattle? Kind of like a white Angus? I'm having all sorts of images of what it would take to shear one of them--even if they had enough hair to shear! (grin) What AM I missing??

Fiberjoy said...

Rhonna, That was exactly my reaction when Spindling Scot (who lives in France) mentioned spinning Charolais. We raised a Charolais calf when I was a kid (used to ride the gentle beast). It is also a sheep breed from France. Theres pictures and info about it on my blog when the wool arrived last January. Please check it out at this link: Fiberjoy

Jo said...

I take it the lighter the spindle the less spin, I am reluctant to try anything other than a Turkish because I like the ball I get. having to wind it off into a ball is just another thing to do, taking up valuable spinning time. I had some more silk hankies delivered this week, maybe I'll get them dyed and give them a go on the spindle!

Rhonna said...

AHA! Thanks, Wanda! Of course, I'm still stuck with pictures of shearing a cow in my head, but a *sheep* is much more, er, sensible! ;-) Can you compare the wool to another breed?

Jennifer said...

I TOTALLY agree with you about light spindles not being necessary for fine yarns. I spun a ~60 wpi single on my turkish (I think it's a valkyrie, weighs probably 1.5 oz) with no problems. I covet one of Ed's lovely turkish spindles for my fine spinning!!