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Jennifer Richardson
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Okay, so all my big outdoor projects are on indefinite hold due to circumstances, so I've decided to tackle something else I've been wanting to do for a while: learn to spin. I crochet, I can almost sort of knit, I do various sorts of needlework (embroidery, needlepoint, cross stitch, a bit of beading, etc.) and sew a bit (with little patience or skill, but nonetheless), so spinning would move me one step up the supply chain to be able to provide my own yarn, which is very desirable. Being able to actually knit decently as well as weave, dye, and harvest fiber are projects I also hope to tackle at some point, but for now I'm focusing on spinning.

I have, over time, accumulated some equipment somewhat at random (pictured below) including The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning, which I have been told is the spinner's Bible, an unfrugal but beautiful handmade Spindlewood spindle in purpleheart and ebony wood, a small maple Houndesign niddy noddy (1/2 yard), and a hazel wood nostepinne from ThomasWoodandWool on Etsy. All of these pieces are handmade by artisans and are very lovely (although I mostly don't know what any of this does yet) so I thought I'd give them all a little blurb here in case anyone would like to patronize their shops. You can also acquire much cheaper versions of all this equipment or even make it yourself (so I am told); however, I tend to direct my relatives' unvanquishable attachment to holiday gift-giving toward such practical yet aesthetically pleasing avenues, and so end up with more high-end stuff than is strictly necessary.

The spindle is a top-whorl spindle, although, again, I don't yet know the difference between a top- and bottom-whorl. The weight is 1.34 oz. (38 grams), the whorl is 2.5 inches, and the shaft is 10.25 inches. I have been told that this weight of spindle is somewhat light for a beginner, but hopefully not prohibitively so. I don't yet have any fiber except a small sample that came with the spindle, which was provided by Alexandra's Crafts in Oregon and is a hand-dyed blend of 75% Blue Faced Leicester and 25% Tussah Silk (which means very little to me; I'm assuming the first is a type of sheep). It seems that they already got it started on the spindle and it is shaping up to be quite fine (I'll categorize it rather vaguely as "lace weight").

Any advice on additional/alternative equipment, educational resources, recommendations of what sort of fiber to start with, and/or general tips for a total beginner would be appreciated. In the meantime, I'll be cracking open the Alden Amos book and starting to muddle my way through.

I'll also be updating this thread with (hopefully) useful info, documentation of my various experiments, successes and debacles, so that it can serve as a resource, if a rather haphazard one, for others.
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Tyler Ludens
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You're brave to tackle fiber projects! I learned to wash raw wool from my sheep, and make felt, but I never learned to spin - I sent the wool off to a spinner and then sent to another person to have the spun wool made into gloves and a hat. Best of luck on your spinning!
 
Michael Bushman
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I make a lot of wooden turnings myself but I don't recognize that piece on the bottom left of your photo, almost looks like a tiny bow saw.
 
Jennifer Richardson
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Tyler, thank you for the well-wishes! I'd like to move into raising some sort of fiber animal(s) in the future and processing my own wool, so I think it's pretty cool that you've done that with your sheep!

Michael, the object you're referring to is called a niddy noddy, and is used for winding skeins of yarn; I haven't used one yet myself, but here's a video showing how they work:

 
Jennifer Richardson
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Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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So I've cracked open the Alden Amos book, and here are my notes from the Introduction. I'll probably post these chapter by chapter as I go for folks who are interested in what the book does/doesn't cover, as well as some of Mr. Amos's specific advice. If I make it through all 500 pages, I'll probably edit them into a book review of some kind. This section more or less just sets the stage for the rest of the book.

The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being a Compendium of information, advice, and opinions on the noble art & craft (Illustrations by Stephenie Gaustad)

INTRODUCTION: WHERE WE ARE, AND HOW WE GOT HERE

- By the 1960s, handspinning was mostly the domain of historical recreationists and cash-strapped Appalachian households
- Then came a revival of handspinning at the beginning of the 1970s by back-to-the-landers and similar types
- At the close of the 1970s, weird “artistic” yarns were popular and the focus was not on practicality
- In the 1980s a new wave of handspinners began producing normal yarn that was actually useful for knitting, weaving, needlepoint, and other textile crafts. This also led many spinners to embrace such crafts in addition to spinning.
- Now in the 21st century, there is much crossover with textile craftspeople such as weavers and knitters, and many such craftspeople recognize the advantages of handspun yarns.

- Intended audience of book includes beginners as well as experts and everyone in between
- Many techniques presented in the book have ancient origins; this alone does not guarantee their superiority, but usually if something has been around for that long it's worth considering why
- Conversely, new techniques and ideas warrant careful examination before being wholeheartedly embraced (for example, using the microwave for dyeing)
- Book sets out to address three major topics:
~ Procedure, or what you do
~ Technique, or how you do it
~ Equipment, or what you do it with
- There is rarely only one right way to do something in handspinning

- All of the equipment presented in the book may be built with hand tools by someone acquainted with simple joinery skills
 
Jennifer Richardson
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Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being a Compendium of information, advice, and opinions on the noble art & craft (Illustrations by Stephenie Gaustad)

CHAPTER 1: IN WHICH WE EXAMINE THE ORIGINS OF SPINNING, DISCOVER THE POWER OF TWIST, ENCOUNTER THE THREE DEFINING QUALITIES OF ANY YARN, AND ASK "WHY SPIN TODAY?"


- Evidence indicates spinning originated long before recorded history, at least 70 centuries ago
- Weaving and spinning at first seem to have existed independent of each other (fibers used for weaving were unspun, and spinners constructed other things such as cords and ropes which were not used for weaving); only later were they combined

- The most basic form of handspinning is just drawing out some fiber from a loose mass of it (this is called "drafting") while introducing twist to the lengthening strand. This produces yarn. You can test this with just your hands, no spindle or spinning wheel required. (I did this with half a cotton ball and my fingers, the lumpy results of which are pictured below. Alden Amos suggested the wad of fiber that comes packed in the top of a pill bottle, but I didn't have one handy.)

- When you first start drafting, there is little or no twist, and the fibers can slip easily past one another, so there is little resistance
- As you add twist, the yarn becomes firmer and stronger, but if you keep adding twist you eventually reach a point where the yarn will break before you can draft anymore
- However, if you introduce too little twist, the yarn will be weak

- You can experiment with a "twisty stick." Get a coat hanger or other length of wire about 8 inches long, and bend a half inch hook in the end. Hook a few fibers and start drafting and twisting. I sacrificed a coat hanger and another cotton ball to make my twisty stick and a bit more "yarn" (also pictured below).

- If you draft too fast for your twist rate, the yarn will thin out and break
- If you draft too slowly for the twist rate, the yarn will get firm and then lumpy until you can't draft anymore
- The ideal is "to draft smoothly and slowly while rolling in enough twist to keep the yarn together, but not so much that it becomes difficult or impossible to continue drafting."
- Coordinating your twisting and drafting rates is the main thing you need to practice. This is true on any tool, including spindle and spinning wheel as well as twisty stick.

- Some quantitative/terminology stuff:
~ Drafting rate: Length of yarn drafted per unit time (for instance, yards per minute)
~ Twist rate: Number of twists put into yarn in a given time, usually expressed as revolutions per minutes or RPM
~ Twists per inch: Total number of twists put into yarn divided by inches of yarn drafted (for example, 30 twists put into 3 inches of yarn equals 10 turns per inch)
~ Grist: Units of length per unit of weight (for instance, yards per pound)
~ Single: Yarn made from a single strand and not twisted together ("plied") with another yarn

- The main thing that makes yarn strong is how much twist you put in
- Even strong fibers produce weak yarn without enough twist
- Adding more twist will also shorten yarn, meaning it will have a lower grist (fewer yards per pound)
- Too much twist and you can't draft or control the yarn

- Yarns of the same grist spun from different fibers will have different qualities
- Yarns made from short, small-diameter fibers such as cotton can be spun into a thick single yarn but it will be weak (mine was very weak); to make a thick cotton yarn that is strong and durable, you must instead spin many fine cotton singles and ply them together
- Long and coarse fibers, such as camel hair or jute, can't be spun into fine singles at all

- All yarn can be described by the three qualities of twist, grist, and fiber
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Miles Flansburg
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Great thread Jennifer !

For those following along, you can buy the book here
 
Jennifer Richardson
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Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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Thank you Miles!

I should also mention that the author, Alden Amos, is known for his handmade spinning wheels, which can be found here:

http://pweb.jps.net/~gaustad/wheels.html

And he also offers drop spindles (some are very reasonably priced):

http://pweb.jps.net/~gaustad/spindle.html

And if you browse around his website, he also offers many other spinning tools and accessories.
 
Miles Flansburg
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And Burra has posted a book review thread here For everyone to give a review and tell us how many "acorns" you would give this book, out of ten acorns.
 
r ranson
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Oh wow, what pretty tools to learn to spin on. Most people learn to spin with nothing better than a potato and a chopstick. I tell you, it makes a difference having nice toys (um, tools) to learn on.

I'm a big fan of The Big Book Of Handspinning. I learned to spin using this myself. However... maybe... um... with all respect to the mighty and marvelous Mr Amos, maybe I could possibly recommend a different book? If you are like me and has a mind that matches Amos's then by all means keep with it. But if it gives you trouble, perhaps the Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin. She gives lots of different ways to create yarn and tells you what each way is good for - ie, this style for smooth hard wearing yarn, that style for soft warm yarn, yet another style for yarn with beads and feathers in it. I like her very much because she doesn't go in for the 'right' way to do something. She's very much like Amos, but some people find her style less... um... intense. Your local library should have this book - if they don't then they SHOULD have it and feel free to tell them I said so.

Respect the Spindle by ... runs to google... Abby Franquemont is another good book for learning to use a spindle. Her method is very much, how to do production work on a spindle and why spindles are awesome, especially top whorl ones (like yours).

But if you find Amos a good match for you, then by all means use him (um, his book). My experience is that people who can learn using his book become technically better spinners in the long run, and don't listen to the modern fads of the 'right' way to do this or that.


Oh, yes, the other very important thing I wanted to tell you - Way to go learning to spin! Any questions, just ask. I've spun most things into most kinds of yarn, worn out two wheels, and love it.


Do you need any more tools? Probably not for learning. The spindle can double as a twisty stick, the nid (or niddy noddy) and nostepinne are an extra bonus and much more fun than using your arms and fingers for winding yarn.

When you start preparing or blending your own fibre, hand cards would be a good investment. New hand cards especially, that way you can notice right away if any teeth get bent - a sure sign you are doing it wrong. My personal favourite are the Ashford Student hand cards; however, it depends a lot on your style of using cards which shape is best for you.

If they haven't yet, someone is bound to tell you that you "need a wheel if you want to do any actual spinning." (they always use the same words for some reason, no matter who says it). I've seen a lot of people get a wheel because they 'should'. In the local fibre arts community, it's very common for the older members to tell you to ignore the spindle as it isn't efficient enough. I always cringe when I hear this because it's simply not true. But they are older than me, been spinning (in some cases) longer than me, so they MUST know better. In reality, however, I've seen some amazing spinning on a spindle. The wheel has it's place, but spindles have their place in my heart. For production spinning, a spindle can still be very useful, however I find if I want to spin weaving yarns for warp, I use the wheel. Also I use the wheel when spinning yarns for sale because I can make longer, unbroken yarns that way. Plying (making two yarns into one yarn) is a wee bit easier on the wheel, but there are plenty of tricks for doing it on the spindle.

The more I spin, the more I gravitate towards hand tools. I find them far more efficient in the long run, than stationary tools like wheels. A spindle or twisty stick, you can take anywhere, where as a wheel needs dedicated time - I find most textile tools are like this. Also, again in my experience, people who learn on a spindle or twisty stick, instead of a wheel, seem to 'get it' faster and become technically better spinners over time. By technically better - I mean able to create the yarn you want to have. A lot of people feel at the mercy of the fibre.


Any questions, feel free to ask. Also thanks for the link to Amos's site. His flax hackles are mighty tempting.
 
Jennifer Richardson
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R Ranson,

Thank you so much for your post!

I have to admit, I am a pretty big fan of pretty toys. My inner miser and inner aesthete fight it out on a regular basis! Hand cards are going on my Christmas list; thank you for that suggestion!

I am actually digging the Alden Amos book so far, but I will definitely keep an eye out for the other two you recommended. My local library doesn't have either (since neither was written by John Grisham, I am not surprised), but I will keep an eye out on PaperBack Swap and Thrift Books, my two favorite sites for dirt-cheap books.

Spinning wheels were not even on my radar a couple weeks ago, but of course since I've been browsing around the internet now I want to spend thousands of dollars on gorgeous wheels with hand-turned everything and pretend to be Sleeping Beauty in my castle, but I am resisting. My normal yearly expenditures are like $6,000 so it would be foolish to spend a third of my money for the year on a spinning wheel, no matter how pretty it is. At least until I master the spindle. Hobby equipment creep is my Achilles heel. Be strong, self...

You mention that you've worn out a couple of wheels--how long do they typically last (of course I'm sure this is hugely dependent on how much you spin)? Do they take well to piecemeal repairs, or do they just sort of die all at once typically? Can you order replacement parts and do repairs yourself, or do you usually need a local repair person and/or to ship them far away at great expense?

My "pie in the sky" goal is to eventually be able to make "real fabric" myself, which could actually be used for garment sewing, quilting, etc., which I assume would involve weaving, which would involve spinning finer than I can currently envision, really. But I am getting ahead of myself! First, to spin a decent yarn...



Oh! And I wanted to mention to anyone interested in fiber arts, I came across a website called Craftsy which has very promising looking classes on all sorts of crafts, including spinning, knitting, weaving, quilting, sewing, etc. I haven't taken any yet myself, but I'm intrigued. They very in price, but some are quite reasonable, in the $20 range, and you have access to the lessons and materials forever, even after the class is over (well, until the website goes out of business, I suppose).

Spinning doesn't seem to be the area in which they have the best selection of classes, but there are a few, including one on spindling (which I probably won't take, as it seems like a fair bit of money for basic info and the reviews are not as stellar as for most classes there, but it does exist). Here is their spinning page:

http://www.craftsy.com/classes/spinning?_ct=wberqbdql-sbqiiui&_ctp=spinning/recommended

I'd love to hear from anyone with experience taking Craftsy classes and if they're worth it. I have a feeling this is one of those things that all the other crafters know about but me, but I could be wrong.
 
r ranson
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Glad to hear you are enjoying Amos's book. I'm a huge fan of his.

The wheels I've worn out were all antique or vintage. The wheels aren't entirely worn out, just need new parts that must be manufactured to fit the individual wheel. For the most part, wheels are easy to fix, so long as the drive wheel and the frame are strong and true. But the flyer assembly (thing with arms that spins around the bobbin) is a bit tricky to repair or replace. They need to be well balanced for a fast spinner like me, and the metal work is beyond my current skills. There are a few people around who are good at replicating or repairing old wheel parts, but it's beyond my price range. I was thinking of getting a local metal worker to make me a new shaft, and I can make the wood - but again, getting it balanced right will be tricky.

I should also tell you that I do a lot of very fast, production spinning. Meaning, in the winter, I can easily spin for 6 or more hours a day, but in the summer, it's usually one or two hours. Judging from other spinners I know, I spin more in a week then your average spinner does in a year.

A good wheel should last you about 4 generations. My favourite wheel is from the early to mid 1800s, and works wonderfully well. It had about 20 years rest before I got it, but from it's history was in constant use before then. I will need to replace some leather bearings soon, and I think the flyer shaft will need redoing in the next couple of years. I might just make a whole new flyer assembly with spare bobbins and put the original off to one side for historical value.

For a beginner wheel I love an Ashford. Please note, I do have an indirect connection with the company, so I may be slightly prejudiced, but I receive no royalties or anything like that. An used (is it 'an used' or 'a used'?) Ashford wheel, with three or more bobbins and lazy kate, should cost about $250 to $350 Canadian. Prices of used wheels can vary drastically from year to year, and depending on location. But here, that's what the going rate is this year. Getting one with at least three bobbins is a must, or a make that is still in business and you can buy the bobbins (usually between $10 and $30 for new bobbins).

The reason I recommend Ashford wheels (especially the Traveller or the Traditional) is that they still make the replacement parts and offer upgrade kits. They've been making wheels for over 80 years, and you can probably find an old one out there. The other great thing about this kind of wheel is that you can buy attachments to suit your style of spinning. The wheel can grow with you and can handle beginner through advance spinning.

There are some other very good wheel makers out there; each of them has their advantage and draw backs. If you are a social spinner, you would probably want a small, upright (often called castle) wheel. The Saxony wheel (like the ones in fairy stories with the big wheel off to one side) are awesome for demonstrating to the public as they always draw a crowed, but when spinning in a group, it takes up a lot more space than an upright wheel.

Most antique wheels - anything pre 1980s actually - will be better for spinning fine yarns. The yarn hole - orifice - will determine what size yarns you can spin. There are a lot of spinning wheel shaped objects from the late 60s through 90s, that won't spin at all. Best to be careful there.

Double treadle wheels are very popular right now, but my personal feelings are that double treadles are limiting. You need both feet to operate a double treadle. This has the benefit of forcing you into an ergonomically correct posture, but also means I can't recline on the couch and treadle listlessly with one foot while I watch a movie. You can use both feet on a single treadle, but operating a double treadle with one foot is difficult.

If you can, try lots of wheels before you buy. There should be some local guilds not too far from you. A good place to look is ravelry.com

For new wheels, your starting price is going to be around $500 for a beginner wheel. Most beginner wheels don't upgrade well, so assume that you will want a better one as your skills advance. here's a list of most of the main makes of spinning wheels available in the US. Some are better at getting replacement parts than others, and some are really only worth while getting if you are a serious spinner. It's not easy to say one wheel is better than another, as it is mostly a matter of matching the wheel to your spinning style - which means it helps to know your spinning style before you buy a wheel.


I'm late for a guild meeting, so I'll stop there for now. Happy spinning.
 
Jennifer Richardson
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Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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R Ranson, thank you again! Your posts are always so incredibly helpful and generous that they give me a brighter outlook on humanity in general for a couple of days after reading them.

I will definitely start looking into acquiring an Ashford wheel. Thank you for the recommendation! It is exhausting to try to sort through all the relevant criteria for a purchase when one doesn't really know what one is doing yet!

I was also able to find a spinning group through Ravelry that meets pretty close to me (close as we measure distance in Texas, anyway!). They don't seem very active anymore (at least on Ravelry) but I'm going to see if I can get in contact.

Also, I found a free Craftsy class called "Know Your Wool," taught by Deborah Robson, author of The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, and have started watching the lessons. The course strikes me as being of very high quality so far, and I have heard good things about The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook [ http://www.amazon.com/The-Fleece-Fiber-Sourcebook-Fibers/dp/1603427112 ] so folks might want to check it out. Here is a link to the class:

http://www.craftsy.com/class/know-your-wool/101?_ct=sbqii-sqjuweho-dum&_ctp=1&rceId=1442695520114~55nzsrn3

I have also finally acquired some fiber of my own--quite an enormous amount of it, by my lights--so now I can really dig into spinning. I am now the possessor of 2 pounds of Rosie's Blue-Faced Leicester top. It is undyed, since I have been wanting to make time to experiment with some wild-harvested plant dyes. According to the website, "[t]he preparation makes it easy to spin a smooth, lustrous yarn. This New Zealand BFL is a bit softer than our other Rosies BFL, though this is not as soft as domestic BFL as the breed was developed differently in New Zealand than in the US. There is minimal VM in this preparation and true to New Zealand BFL you will find some kemp fibers in the wool." Hopefully once I finish watching the Craftsy class and reading my next Alden Amos chapter, I will have a clue what all that means!

I got it from The Woolery here:

http://www.woolery.com/store/pc/Spinzilla-Monster-Mile-Pack-Special-p14227.htm#details



P.S. Because I am an English geek: the accepted usage is "a used _______" since it begins with a long "U" sound (pronounced like "you"). Same with "a universal joint," "a unique point of view," or any other long "U" sound. With a short "U" (pronounced like "uh") you use "an" instead: "an umbrella," "come to an understanding," etc.
 
r ranson
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Thanks for the grammatical tip. That's the first A(n) U--- explanation I've seen that actually makes sense to my brain. I'm severely dyslexic, but love the written word. It's not an awesome combination, but it makes for an interesting writing style... not to mention some creative interpretations by my spellchecker.

I have also finally acquired some fiber of my own--quite an enormous amount of it, by my lights--so now I can really dig into spinning. I am now the possessor of 2 pounds of Rosie's Blue-Faced Leicester top. It is undyed, since I have been wanting to make time to experiment with some wild-harvested plant dyes. According to the website, "[t]he preparation makes it easy to spin a smooth, lustrous yarn. This New Zealand BFL is a bit softer than our other Rosies BFL, though this is not as soft as domestic BFL as the breed was developed differently in New Zealand than in the US. There is minimal VM in this preparation and true to New Zealand BFL you will find some kemp fibers in the wool." Hopefully once I finish watching the Craftsy class and reading my next Alden Amos chapter, I will have a clue what all that means!


Sounds like lovely wool. 2 pounds is a nice amount to work with. Depending on the yarn you create and the size of the final object, you can get two to four adult sweaters from that, or a large blanket, or all sorts of other things. The description for the fibre is a bit jargon heavy for my liking. A lot of those terms and phrases are ones that most of my spinning friends don't understand. If you don't mind, I'll break it down for you.

Top: The wool has been scoured (washed at a specific temperature - or in large scale industrial settings, using specific chemicals - that break down the grease and allow the dirt to release more easily from the fibres) then the individual fibres are organized so that the majority of them are all facing the same way. There are a lot of different ways to organize the fibres before spinning them, this way encourages a smooth yarn with very little air trapped between the fibres. Many people prefer to spin this worsted style, however, it can also be spun woolen, or a combination draft if you like. It's entirely up to you. It may be fun to experiment with different styles of spinning to see which gives the result you like best - I know some books and people will say that this wool, prepared this way, MUST be spun that way. However, you know something they don't: it ain't their wool. It's YOUR wool, and You can spin it however you like. My suggestion is to experiment, observe, and learn - this will teach you the best way to spin that particular fibre. You may be surprised by the beautiful yarn you can make by spinning the 'wrong way'.

Blue Faced Leicester, is a breed of sheep which typically has a long, shiny wool, with minimal crimp (waviness). The breed standards are very strict, however each country has their own standards, and there is substantial divergence between North American, for example, and New Zealand lines.

Soft and Softer - these are very subjective, and the write up does not tell us how they mean. It could be that the individual fibres are finer, or the scales on the fibre are not as open, or... ?

VM - vegi matter, which is basically hay, weed seeds, thistles and such. Sheep are dirty creatures and they eat hay. Hay gets in their wool. Some wool farmers put coats on their sheep, but these fleeces to prevent this.

Kemp - This is a coarse hair that some sheep have. This is quite common in the old breeds (aka, pre 1700) which generally had three types of fibre. The outer coat, or longwool - which shed the rain. The undercoat or down which is a short, insulating, soft fibre near the skin. And the kemp which is very like a bristle. Kemp won't take dye well and is undesirable in a cloth that will be worn next to the skin. Kemp is also called hair - as in hair shirt (one historical interpretation of that phrase). Kemp is most often found near the hind quarters of the fleece and is often skirted (removed along with the dung) at the time of shearing. However, some sheep have kemp throughout their wool. It depends a lot on the individual sheep and can be moderated somewhat through nutritional management.

With the rise of the woolen mills, the sheep were breed to have more standard wool that worked with the machines better. So most modern sheep breeds will have only one coat with a smattering of kemp. Suffolk, for example, is a fairly consistent squishy wool, with all the fibres being relatively the same length. Icelandic, however, will have an over coat, under coat and kemp. The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, you mentioned, goes into this better.

To define some of the words I used:

Worsted - creates a smooth, hard wearing yarn. This draw prevents the twist from entering the drafting zone.

Woolen - creates a fluffy, soft yarn, with lots of air between the individual fibres which insulates better than worsted yarns. This draw allows the twist to enter the drafting zone, and pulls against the twist.

Some of these terms have been in common use for several thousand years, with a great many regional variations of use, meaning and pronunciation. The definitions given here are not gospel, but rather an introduction to the general themes of how these terms are used these days in North America.


For dying using wild harvest - I really enjoy Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes by Rebecca Burgess

I find this video by her also very inspiring:





Love your post and links. Here's an apple.
 
Jennifer Richardson
Posts: 176
Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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I really love that video and the idea of developing one's local fibershed and having a local wardrobe. I've spoken to one person in my county who raises sheep for the tax break, to see about getting a local source of wool (I'm not sure anything will come of it, but fingers crossed), and I've just started teaching my neighbor to crochet, so maybe with some more effort I can plant the seeds of a similar endeavor here.
 
Those are the largest trousers in the world! Especially when next to this ad:
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