Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Blanket Project

Ginette and I decided to collaborate on a fibre arts project. She’s the weaver and I’m the spinner on this project. A client of hers wants a hand woven blanket that is white, soft and uses a good amount of local fibre. So we went out to Ann’s place. Ann has many sheep. Not only does she have many sheep, but she treats them well so their fibre is lovely, soft and top quality for spinning. We came away with these two bags of Ramboulette/Targhee cross. It’s 3.5 lbs and it’s already washed. BONUS. It is in two bags because the locks in one of the bags has the tips cut. Even better.
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Ginette has some wonderfully soft alpaca that she wants to use as the weft, so what I’ll be spinning is the warp. With that in mind, the first thing I sampled was combing it and spinning it worsted. The yarn that resulted was nearly perfect worsted yarn. Strong, lustrous, and smooth. But combing takes time and produces waste. I wanted to know if I could produce a worsted type yarn, but with a faster preparation technique, like a drum carder.

So the next experiment was to drum card the fibre and spin the batts worsted. Here’s my set-up for making carded batts. What you see below are my tools and equipment. From left to right are the brushes, doffers, carding board and drum carder.

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I get the fibre ready for the drum carder by teasing it on the carding board. Just a few passes with my hand cards and it’s ready for the big machine. See how it opens up the fibres and gets them ready for the drum carder? This saves tons of time. I used to this teasing lock by lock. It got rid of more straw and bits, but it took a lot of time.

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Once I have teased up about an ounce of fibre, I start putting it into the drum carder. Nice and slow. Little layers at a time. The fibre was so clean I only needed two passes on the drum carder.

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For that first sample using the carded preparation, I spun with a short forward draw (worsted) and smoothed the yarn as I went. I was aiming for the same thickness as the weft yarn.

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From top to bottom: 1) combed/short forward draw;  2) drum carded/short forward draw with more twist in the ply than in the next sample; 3) drum carded/short forward draw with less twist in the ply than sample 2; 4) drum carded/short forward draw but I let the twist into it, so it’s a modified woollen draft; the sample below the pen is drum carded/long draw. It was a bust – horribly uneven, but I included it the show and tell anyway.

blanket yarn 002Even though I was focused on making a worsted yarn because that’s what I thought was the best thing for warp – the woollen yarn that I made ended up being the yarn of choice.

While we like all the yarn produced, for this project we decided on sample 2 – the woollen sample. It is strong enough to be used as warp – but it’s light and soft, matching the weft yarn better than any of the other samples. It is also faster to spin than the other samples. BONUS. So I need to card and spin 900 yards of two-ply yarn. If I want a blanket of my own, I just need to spin up another 900 yards.

I think I’ll do just that.

 

Exploring Fibre Preparation Techniques – Fibreswest 2015

wool combing 003wool combing 005wool combing 009For more information about Fibreswest and how to register for class, visit here.

Exploring Fibre Preparation Techniques – Diana Twiss. Half day, Fri.Mar.13/15. 8:30-12:30. $65#106

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a carded roving and a combed top? A batt and a rolag? If you are keen to know, then this workshop is for you. In this 4 hour workshop, you will learn a variety of fibre preparation techniques that will help you understand one of the elemental factors in making the yarn you want to make – fibre preparation. You will learn how to flick card, hand card, comb and drum card a variety of fibres. In addition to learning how to use these tools and creating samples with them, you will also play around with fibre and colour blending.

Materials fee: $15 payable to the instructor

Skill Level: intermediate and beyond. Must be able to spin a continuous thread and be comfortable with plying.

Equipment required: spinning wheel in excellent operating order, lazy kate, three bobbins, any and all fibre preparation tools you may have – flick carder, hand carders, wool combs, drum carder.

Another workshop at Fibreswest 2015 – Drop Spindle II

And for those of you have a little more confidence with your spindles, but want to take your spinning to another level, here’s another spindling class for you. I hope to see you there.

For more information visit Fibreswest 2015.

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Drop Spindle II – Diana Twiss. Half Day, Sat. Mar. 14/15. 1:00-5:00. $65 #105

This class is for spinners who are able to make a continuous thread with a suspended spindle (also known as a drop spindle) and want to learn more. In this 4- hour class, participants will learn some techniques to make their spindling experiences much more satisfying by learning all the basics such as making a leader, drafting and winding on. We will also explore drafting techniques such as spinning from the fold, worsted and woollen and strategies for spinning difficult or challenging fibre. An assortment of ways to ply yarns (along with Navajo Plying) with a spindle and the importance of setting your yarn and how to do it will round out our day.

Material fee: $15 payable to instructor plus an additional $45 if you wish to purchase a Houndesign spindle for your class.

Skill level: must be able to make a continuous thread when spinning with a drop spindle

Equipment needed: suspended spindle, top whorl preferred. Bring a variety if you have them. If you are planning to purchase from me please indicate on your registration form.

Empty shoebox – to be used as a Lazy Kate and to hold your materials.

Workshops at Fibreswest 2015 – Spindling I

Registration for Fibreswest 2015 is now open. Check out the classes. In the following three posts, I will be highlighting some of the classes that I will be teaching there this year. Hope to see you there.

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Introduction to Spinning with Drop Spindles, Diana Twiss. Half Day, Sat.Mar.14/15, 8:30-12:30. $65 #104

In this 4-hour workshop, participants will be introduced to the basic spinning techniques for suspended spinning. These techniques will enable participants to further explore making a variety of yarns with these noble tools. This class is for absolute beginning spinners, or for those who know how to spin with a wheel, but not a spindle.

In this introduction to the spindles as a tool for making yarn, participants will learn about the properties of wool as a protein fibre for yarn. They will also learn drafting techniques, and how to spin, ply and set yarn.

Topics covered include: varieties of spindles – how to choose one and how they work, choosing fibre – the properties of wool and working with wool,  spinning on a spindle – park and draft technique, drafting, worsted and from the fold, winding on, making a cop and dealing with a full spindle. Plying your singles and finishing your yarn will also be covered.

Material fee: $15 payable to instructor plus an additional $45 if you wish to purchase a Houndesign spindle for your class

Skills needed: none

Equipment needed: suspended spindle, top whorl preferred. Bring a variety if you have them. If don’t have one want or wish to add to your collections, spindles will be sold at the workshop for $45 each. If you are planning to purchase from me, please indicate on your registration form.

Empty shoebox – to be sued as a Lazy Kate and to hold our materials.