impatience scientific curiosity got the better of me yesterday, so I decided to cheat do some preliminary research and experimentation into exactly what sort of yarn I could expect from Liam’s fleece. Even though only about half of the fleece is washed, I carded and spun up one rolag of the clean wool, just to see how it behaved. Liam’s wool is not exactly ideal for hand carding, but since hand cards are all I have I used them anyway.
That handful turned out to be too much for the carders to handle, so I didn’t end up using all of it.
One rolag isn’t really enough to properly utilize a spinning wheel, and my wheel is currently tied up with another project anyway so I decided to use a drop spindle.
The finished rolag, ready to be spun up on my favorite spindle. I rolled the rolag a little too tight, so it was somewhat hard to draft, and I think the 1 ounce spindle was a tad light for this project, but it worked well enough. And it’s my favorite spindle.
My tiny little cop of spun single, ready to be Andean plied into yarn! I realized at this point that I had spun the whole thing backwards. S-spun. Counter-clockwise. Widdershins. Whatever you want to call it, I’d spun it in the opposite direction that a single is usually spun. There are certain superstitions attached to yarn spun the wrong direction, but not being superstitious I decided I didn’t care. It’s just a sample. All that really matters is that you ply the yarn in the opposite direction it was spun, so I plied it clockwise, or Z-plied.
And there’s my itty-bitty (backwards) Liam skein! It’s pretty much impossible to spin a perfectly consistent yarn from a rolag, and I didn’t feel like fighting with it, so I just spun the wool the way it “wanted” to be spun. It came out around 14-16 WPI, which I think would generally be considered a heavy fingering/light sport weight yarn, but might be anything up to a DK weight yarn, depending on what chart you use. I’m calling it sporty fingering.
The sample knitted up on size 3 needles and (sort of) blocked. I found it a bit harder to knit with the yarn twisted in the opposite direction from what I’m used to, but I managed. I think it came out quite pretty, uneven lumpy bits and all!
I may try to get ahold of some combs and do another sample. I think this wool might rather be combed into top for a smooth worsted yarn than carded into rolags for a fuzzy woolen yarn. There are all kinds of books and videos about how to make fiber come out into exactly the yarn you want, but my experience so far is that some fibers really really want to be prepared a certain way, or spun to a certain weight, and given my indifferent skills with both fiber prep and spinning, my results are usually better if I don’t try to fight with it.