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Old 09-18-2007, 09:42 PM   #1
Waggus
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This is a bit scary!
(If you don't want to read the whole story just scroll down to my question in the last paragraph.)

A couple of months ago when I had my 7th baby, my midwife was crocheting as she waited for action, and my children were interested to learn. So I learned myself, 4 of the children learned, and am now learning knitting. I made a deal that whoever would learn to knit and crochet could have a sheep and we'd learn to spin.

4 of my children and myself have learned/are learning. So 5 sheep! So far we have 3 sheep, waiting for two lambs to be weaned so we can take them. (It's spring Down Under). I had banked on getting them all as lambs, having a year to wait until shearing, but now we have 3 12mo black sheep: they came ready to shear!! We have shorn one of them with hand shears and scissors. It took over TWO HOURS!

Anyway we were at my SIL's place on Sunday and the children mentioned we had got sheep, and she asked if we wanted a spinning wheel! She had rescued an Ashford Traditional wheel from being sent to the tip, and it was on her cupboard gathering dust. It belonged to her ex's mum, and he was going to throw it out when she died. It's in good condition, my dh just ordered a few spare parts.

So now I'm learning to spin a year sooner than anticipated. Just when I'd returned my spinning books to the library! I heard you didn't need to card, just spin as is, so I had a try. Well! I've ordered some carders! It was not so easy just spinning it as it came off the sheep. I think I'll wait until they arrive before attempting any more. It did moisturize my hands nicely though...

I am feeling a little stressed learning so many new things at once, but it's also invigorating, and great for the children.

One big problem I was having was the yarn over twisting and breaking on me while I was fussing with treadling and drafting. Is there a cure for this? It was even all wiggling up on itself on the bobbin.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:06 PM   #2
chillawilla
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You'll want to wash the wool first too, before you card.

Congrats on the sheep and free wheel!

The cure for breakage is fiber prep and practice. "Fast hands, slow feet"...treadle slower and don't let the twist overtake your fingers controlling the draft.

Here are some videos to help: http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/spi...inchworm.shtml
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:56 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by chillawilla View Post
You'll want to wash the wool first too, before you card.
Thanks Chillawilla, is it not possible to spin without washing it first? I believe they say "spinning in the grease"? Or will it still be a bit greasy after washing?
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:44 PM   #4
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so cool that you have sheep and what a great wheel to get!
you can spin it w/o washing. That's spinning 'in the grease', and depending on what you knit, the lanolin in the wool can be great (think baby soakers and coats, the lanolin is great for baby bums and making your item with a natural water barrier)

carding will help line up the fiber to make it easier to spin a smoother yarn.

as for the breaking of your work, that's probably from the fibers being pulled to far apart length wise.

the bending/twisting back on itself is from over spin. when you ply your finished singles it helps straighten out your yarn.

HTH
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Old 09-19-2007, 08:24 AM   #5
chillawilla
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Originally Posted by Waggus View Post
Thanks Chillawilla, is it not possible to spin without washing it first? I believe they say "spinning in the grease"? Or will it still be a bit greasy after washing?
Sure is, like jeanius80 said. It's very desireable for weather exposed outerwear too.

In the grease wool is more difficult to handle. I find it "fights" me more and I struggle with keeping a consistant draft diameter. It will also gum up your carders pretty quick.

For learning purposes scoured fleece might cause less frustration.

It's not an nice on the hands tho. Nothing like lanolin soaked raw fleece.
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Old 09-21-2007, 02:46 PM   #6
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I'm just curious, what breed are your sheep?

A free wheel! You can't beat free, and the Ashford Traditional is so easy to learn on.
I've never tried to spin in the grease, but I have washed raw wool. That stuff was pretty nasty, what with all the dirt and veggie matter mixed into the caked up lanolin. The wheel and I would have both been filthy if I'd spun it like that. Plus, the lanolin made the fibers stick together - it would have been almost impossible to draft, which isn't really conducive to spinning a nice, even yarn. Hand washing will get out the dirt and leave a small amount of lanolin behind. You still get the benefits of the lanolin, but it's much easier and cleaner to spin!

Sounds like you and your kids are having a lot of fun exploring the wide world of fiber!
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Old 09-21-2007, 10:28 PM   #7
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Waggus,
Congratulations on #7! We have had 5, the last one is a foster son of 13.

What breed of sheep are you spinning? What is the lock length??

Can you spin 'in the grease' ... you bet! First you'll want to warm that fleece up, either by laying it out in the sun, or as I do, when I spin in the grease in the winter months, by putting it next to the wood stove.

When the lanolin is warm and free flowing, it is wonderful to spin!

That said, you should make sure you have as much VM (vegative matter) out of the fleece as humanly possible!

It is said you will pick VM out of home spun yarns at least 4-5 times:
1)When hand picking
2) when picking
3) when carding
4) when spinning
5) when knitting/crocheting/weaving

What I'm saying is the better you clean your fleece of VM, the easier it is the work. Sometimes this means scouring your wool. You don't necessarily need to take out all the lanolin though!

I have a few links on my spinning page (still under development - I've had enough time just to put some of the links I don't want to lose) on cleaning raw fiber.

If the fiber locks are consistantly breaking at the same length, it could be due to stress on that sheep. Anything from weather, location or feed changes during that time when the lock was growing will affect how strong the lock is and how easily it breaks.

If you have any questions, just holler!

I'm no expert by any stretch of the mind, just a lonely spinner/knitter/crocheter/weaver who learned by books and trial & error
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Old 09-22-2007, 02:07 PM   #8
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(small thread hijack)
i am ordering some soap from you i have psoriasis and have just discovered the wonderfulness of cold press soaps much nicer on my skin, as everything else dries it out... i am planning on ordering a bar of each in apple Jack & peel (as a gift) and lavender tea tree for me

Originally Posted by mullerslanefarm View Post
Waggus,
Congratulations on #7! We have had 5, the last one is a foster son of 13.

What breed of sheep are you spinning? What is the lock length??

Can you spin 'in the grease' ... you bet! First you'll want to warm that fleece up, either by laying it out in the sun, or as I do, when I spin in the grease in the winter months, by putting it next to the wood stove.

When the lanolin is warm and free flowing, it is wonderful to spin!

That said, you should make sure you have as much VM (vegative matter) out of the fleece as humanly possible!

It is said you will pick VM out of home spun yarns at least 4-5 times:
1)When hand picking
2) when picking
3) when carding
4) when spinning
5) when knitting/crocheting/weaving

What I'm saying is the better you clean your fleece of VM, the easier it is the work. Sometimes this means scouring your wool. You don't necessarily need to take out all the lanolin though!

I have a few links on my spinning page (still under development - I've had enough time just to put some of the links I don't want to lose) on cleaning raw fiber.

If the fiber locks are consistantly breaking at the same length, it could be due to stress on that sheep. Anything from weather, location or feed changes during that time when the lock was growing will affect how strong the lock is and how easily it breaks.

If you have any questions, just holler!

I'm no expert by any stretch of the mind, just a lonely spinner/knitter/crocheter/weaver who learned by books and trial & error
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Old 09-24-2007, 05:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dana_renay View Post
I'm just curious, what breed are your sheep?



A free wheel! You can't beat free, and the Ashford Traditional is so easy to learn on.



I've never tried to spin in the grease, but I have washed raw wool. That stuff was pretty nasty, what with all the dirt and veggie matter mixed into the caked up lanolin. The wheel and I would have both been filthy if I'd spun it like that. Plus, the lanolin made the fibers stick together - it would have been almost impossible to draft, which isn't really conducive to spinning a nice, even yarn. Hand washing will get out the dirt and leave a small amount of lanolin behind. You still get the benefits of the lanolin, but it's much easier and cleaner to spin!
They are two Romney and one Corriedale X Romney. They are coloured sheep and we will be getting two white lambs soon. We have only sheared one Romney so far.

I'm really starting to enjoy spinning now!

I think from reading that if you leave the fleece in the grease the lanolin goes hard. Since this is a fresh fleece (W hust sheared him last week!), and fairly clean, just a few bits of straw which are easy to pick out, it is easier to spin in the grease. I have been carding and spinning it quite successfully now. What turned the corner for me was to pre-draft a long section, then I could get used to what my hands had to do without having to draft it at the same time. Now I am able to draft as I go!

Having Fun!
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Old 09-24-2007, 05:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mullerslanefarm View Post
Waggus,
Congratulations on #7! We have had 5, the last one is a foster son of 13.

What breed of sheep are you spinning? What is the lock length??

Can you spin 'in the grease' ... you bet! First you'll want to warm that fleece up, either by laying it out in the sun, or as I do, when I spin in the grease in the winter months, by putting it next to the wood stove.

When the lanolin is warm and free flowing, it is wonderful to spin!


I'm no expert by any stretch of the mind, just a lonely spinner/knitter/crocheter/weaver who learned by books and trial & error
Thanks so much, I am looking at your website, it looks just like what we'd love to do! The homesteading I mean. We call it hobby farming here. Thanks for the tips about warming the fleece up. I actually think the way the lanolin makes it stick together a little helps to control it, but then as I said it is a very fresh fleece.

If you know anything about hand-shearing with shears, not electric clippers, please let me know as we are beginners and I couldn't find anything on the net.

OUr sheep are Romney, and one Corriedale X Romney whose fleece I can't wait to try but we have to shear her first! It is a beautiful silvery grey underneath.

Well done for fostering by the way!
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