Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Rambouillet - From Fleece to Yarn.

I have had the opportunity to do a lot of spinning lately, and it has indeed been a pleasure. I think that deep down I am a handspinner first. All my other fiber and textile interests seem to follow this. One thing I like about it is that it doesn't require a lot of concentration like knitting and weaving sometimes do. It is rhythmic and meditative. As I've been contemplating what to do with the last row of sheep on my Rare Breed Sweater front, and planning my next weaving project, I've been spinning. Yesterday I finished the Rambouillet.

I started with 9.2 ounces of raw fleece. My first impression was how soft it was. I liked the color, which was consistent throughout the sample except for the lighter, sun bleached tips. The tips were sound. The luster is low.

I noticed that it had some VM (vegetable matter), some kemp, and some second cuts. The length of the fibers was 2 to 3 inches, and I measured the crimp at 20 per inch. After washing it weighed 5.7 ounces

Initially I planned to drum card it. But as began to tease the staples, I realized that there was an entire layer of second cuts in much of the sample. So I resorted to combing most of these out with my dog comb and handcarding the fleece into rolags. I laid these out in a shoe box, which possibly wasn't the best place for them as the bottom layer did get squashed.

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my sample yarn card, but I can tell you that the singles measured 25 WPI, and the washed yarn 14 WPI. It weighs 4.0 ounces after removing 2nd cuts. It is very elastic! Lying loosely on a flat surface, the two skeins are 15 inches in length. However, I can stretch them out to 21 inches. I wasn't successful in getting all the neppy bits out, so my yarn is quite textured in some places. My total yardage is 140.

For the moment, I am trying to spin most of my sample tops and fleece to about the same size yarns, in hopes of combining the various colors and textures in a future project.

Best of all, I've made decisions about both the sweater and the weaving. More on these soon.


Kathy L. said...

Aw, c'mon, Leigh...your "Squasher" was just trying to be helpful! I have five helpers like yours...and sometimes they fight over who gets to "squash" stuff for me. ;-)

The yarn is, again, beautiful!

Laritza said...

The yarn is lovely! I have worked with Rambo quite a bit. Experience taught that because it is such a fine fiber carding will create lots of neps. Combing either with a dog comb or with wool combs will too but in a lesser degree. The best is to hold the lock and pull the tips out. You will find that the tips and the second cuts is what does it. Margaret Stove in her book Working with Merino and other Fine Fleeces, gives an extensive explanation on how and why to do it. Works for me!

Sue said...

That's bee-YOU-tee-ful yarn! I love working with Rambouillet, and the color on that fleece is gorgeous.

Cheryl said...

Leigh your yarn is.....(oh wait, had to run and get a rag to wipe the drool).....stunning. Lotta spinning envy going on here!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Leigh, I do hope you are starting to think about spinning yarn for weaving. You don't need any fancy weave structure---in fact, you don't want any. Items woven out of handspun are things of extraordinary beauty.

Sharon said...

Wow - it looks springy and soft. I did try combining different wools in knitting and it wasn't all successful but it worked fine for the woven lap blanket that I love. I used the varieties of fleece in the stripes and kept to a single weft but I'll bet you could get some interesting seersucker pucker if you did it both says.