Friday, March 1, 2013

March/April Skill Stretch: Spinning The Goat

This skill is going to take a lonnnng time to stretch.

This goal actually combines a few different skills; conquering a new drafting method, spinning a new type of fibre, and spinning enough for a SWEATER, which I have never done before.

Last month, I started preparing fibre from a mountain goat hide to spin. If you missed that post, you can check it out here.

This month, I am going to start spinning the resulting fibre. Slowllllllly over the last few weeks I picked out all the guards hairs from my collected fibre.  It was an intense project. I set up a nice station in my living room, watched the second season of House, and ended up with 46.4 delicious ounces of baby-fine goat hair. Now, does this count as cashmere?!

I practised spinning some cotton to 'warm up" for the project. The cotton had a very short staple length, so it was tough to get used to! Below is a photo of the cotton (with a pencil for scale):

Then I moved on to a small sample of mountain goat hair. I found that using a short forward draw felt like the most comfortable drafting method for me (I let the twist enter the web between my drafting and supply hands, but I did not move my supply hand backwards. I fed the twisted fibre into my wheel once I had allowed enough twist into the space between my hands). One day I will learn a proper long draw, but the fibre feels "right" when I draft it this way, and I am able to get the control and diameter I want. If I am going to spinning 40-odd ounces of this stuff, I might as well do it the way I feel the most comfortable, right!??!

I chain-plied my resulting test, and this is what my final yarn looked like:

This three ply sample is a wee bit thinner than sock yarn, but very fluffy. I was worried it might be too thin to knit a sweater from without going crazy, but when I compared it to the merino-silk yarn I used for this sweater, I found the diameter of the yarn was roughly the same. And that's one of my favourite sweaters to wear.

In conclusion - I am sure it's going to take me longer than a month to spin all that fibre. But that's ok - I think I am covering at least 3 skills with this goal, so if it takes some extra time, I am still stretching myself!

I will update as I go... there is now a list on the right side of my blog that is going to "count down" the amount of ounces of fibre I have left to spin! And I will post photos when I have them too.


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