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Topic: Spinning straight from the fleece?  (Read 942 times)
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« on: July 16, 2007 03:13:56 AM »

Hi ya,

I recently fixed up my parents spinning wheel, that was sitting decoratively in the corner, so I could start using it again. (My mum said I could have it, yay!)
A bag of fleece was also found in the attic. No idea how old it is, where it came from or how long it's been bagged up, but it is definitely unwashed wool, still greasy with bits of twig in it, and not combed or carded either.

Now, I have tried my hand at spinning before, resulting in something that needed improving, but looked enough like yarn to give me hope I could master this craft. But back then I used these nicely carded, even-length rolags and I really have a hard time now trying to learn to spin from this raw fleece with short and long bits of wool, tangles and such.

From what I've read it can be done, spinning yarn straight from the fleece. Sounds great, as I don't have anything like carders or combs, just the wheel. How do you do it though? Do I need to prep it first somehow, like predrafting? Or should I just use this stuff for stuffing and buy some nice roving to start practicing on?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks in advance!

« Last Edit: July 16, 2007 03:18:50 AM by Nienke » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2007 05:03:51 AM »

 spinning staight for the fleece is great if you have a good fleece  and I was just talking about that  in another thread  recently and is how I mostly spin but sounds like yours  might be a bit past it  if it is different lenghts and full of rubbish  trying to spin with an unsuitalbe fleece is a good way to get put off spinning.

If it's in good conditon put is some where warm  driving around in the car for a few days workes well then have a go at pulling out some of the longer staples  and spining them after flicking the ends can use a small dog brush if you don't have a flicker I find it eaier to work with only one or two staples at a time  if you have a lot of fleece you tend to get tangled up with it


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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2007 08:48:38 AM »

It may be easiest to start with some cleaned, prepared fleece. I wouldn't throw out what you've got though! Just because it's dirty or needs carding doesn't mean it's bad, you just need to determine what kind of effort you're willing to put in. Since you just mentioned bits of twig, it sounds like it's not muddy, or poop-y and bits of twig would be easy enough to deal with. If you want to attempt it I second getting a dog brush to flick comb your locks out. It will be a lot more work than working with prepared rovings. If you'd rather start with something prepared, check out the sticky threads at the top of the board. There's a whole thread devoted to where to buy roving.

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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2007 10:41:49 AM »

Thanks Gypsy03 and TheBon!

I'll get myself a dog brush and see if flick combing helps. I don't think it's a great fleece, but it should be okay to practice with.
I'll also check out the sticky thread about buying roving though, for future reference if nothing else.

« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2007 12:21:39 PM »

Spinning from the fleece is one of my new favorite things...I do wash the fleece unless there's not much grease...you could separate out locks that are longer, line 'em up and wash them (let me know if you need instructions for that...I know there are a bunch of good descriptions out there) or if using grease wool, you'll want to make sure it's warm enough that it's not too sticky. When dry, flick comb both ends and make a little pile of fluffy opened locks. Then you can spin from the fold, or (what I do) spin from the fluffed up end. You have to do a bunch of joins, but you can spin a nice worsted yarn this way. As your fluffed lock gets small, you can overlap the next fluffed lock with it.

I've been buying tons (well, pounds and pounds and pounds and pounds) of raw fleeces rather than roving lately because I'm trying to support small farmers...great, except that I hate fiber prep. I like this way because though it does take a while to open a bunch of locks, you have to do that anyways for carding and combing takes even longer so this is kind of a short cut to get to spinning. Plus if you have a short attention span like me, you can just open up some locks, then spin, then a few minutes opening more locks, more spinning etc...

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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2007 02:31:23 PM »

That was really helpful, thanks so much!

I gave it a shot again this evening. Don't have a dog brush yet to flick comb it (you mean like this http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/flicker-carder.shtml right?) so I've just been opening the locks by hand to get any crap and felted bits out, and it seems to go a lot better, more smoothly anyway. Still overtwisting though, and I don't think I'm making the joins strong enough, 'cause they keep breaking.

I would really like to learn to spin straight from the fleece, because besides it being a good thing to support small farmers, it looks like I'll have easier access to raw fleeces than store-bought prepped roving. Maybe in future, if I get addicted to spinning enough, I'll get carders, but for now it looks like I'll be prepping as low-tech as possible.

One day I'll be spinning my own sock yarn...

« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2007 07:08:39 AM »

Hi Nienke  yes that the sort of brush you need 
glad you are making porgress love to see  when you have some done
  The fresher a fleece is usually the better it spins so if you can get some freshly shorn would be great Smiley


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