Spinning Study Group
A spinning study group was formed in 2014 with the intention of exploring different breeds of sheep and fibre. The group meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 12:30pm and alternates between raw fleece and prepared fibres. Members meet and discuss the pros and cons of different fibres, their preparation, spinning techniques and suitable uses for the end product amongst other things.
September: Participants will be bringing in the flax they have spun over the past month, to discuss how they found the fibre to work with.
August: Gill gave an overview of flax, its various forms, and demonstrated spinning it. Flax was then distributed to members to spin for the September meeting.
July: Finished camel projects were brought in. A variety of items were made from the small amount of camel we each had to spin.
June: Most members had found it enjoyable to spin the camel hair. Between us we combined it with a number of different fibres, either blended or in the plying. next month we all hope to have a completed our project.
May: A small amount of camel hair had been purchased for the group to spin, and was distributed. It is a fine fibre, which will require spinning with a high twist. The fibre also contains some long hairs. It was suggested we might want to try blending it with silk or wool, to make it easier to handle. Participants are asked to bring their spun samples in next meeting for discussion.
Our April meeting day coincided with a bus trip to Feltfine, so after lunch at the Old Butter Factory at Wyong, we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather and had our final session discussing colour.
The May meeting will be the first one on spinning camel hair.
We looked at colour in - design, spinning, weaving, felting etc. Members brought in samples of colour use which they felt worked, and also looked at colour combinations which did not work.
Helene showed a sample which she plied with itself, black and then white.January - February 2017
We discussed the Border Leicester and Helene had completed one item which was a string bag (Left)
Most people found it easy to spin but very harsh.
Trudy came up with a solution to improve the feel by knitting the border leicester with a commercial yarn made up of Mohair and Silk. This gave a very soft feel to the fabric but is still only suitable for outer wear.
Marge (top right)
used hers for a crocheted cushion cover which felt quite soft.
The last fibre for 2016 is Border Leicester, and this was distributed at our meeting on November 15. Most people received 300 grams and the properties of this fibre were discussed. Ann S posted a very good web site to research this fibre
(www. independentstitch.typepad.com) and January 24 will be discussion on progress. Finished projects to be ready by February 21st.
Our third Fibre, Bamboo was distributed at the July meeting and Myf discussed its properties.
Most people enjoyed spinning with the white bamboo but some had difficulty with the dyed black bamboo fibre.
Left and Top Right: Anne D spun and dyed her fibre yellow and wove a jacket on weave it square loom.
Marge Spun and crocheted
hers into a scarf which
showed off the lustre.
Second Fibre for 2016 was Downs. This is a soft spongy fleece and the carded fibre was distributed to participants on April 19. By May we had all started spinning it, we shared our impressions of the fibre.
This fibre was enjoyed by all, most agreeing that the Southdown was softer than the Dorset Horn. Both fibres were soft and spongy and were not ideal to wear close to the skin. It was felt that this fibre could vary greatly from sheep to sheep because it has not been bred specifically for the wool fibre.
At our June meeting we showed the items we had made using the Downs fibres.
Left: Carolyn's Owl beanie
Right: Carol's beanie - her first time spinning Downs fleece, using Landscape dyes in a microwave, and using a magic loop!
Our first fibre for 2016 was silkA variety of silk fibres were distributed to members and the study group discussed various techniques for spinning silk.
Silk spinning was enjoyed by most of the group although each person had their favourite presentation. Each type of silk was represented by the group -
Mulberry, Tussah, Silk Noils, Hankies, Caps, Sari Silk and some was spun with Alpaca.
There was a discussion on silk from other creatures: spider silk and mussel silk which Beverley has seen in museums overseas.
Completed Items were brought in on 15th March.
All enjoyed spinning silk and items were completed in various ways.
Scarves - Lorraine
Necklaces - Carol, Lorraine and Gill
Small Bag - Anne Mac
Crochet Flower - Tracey
4th Fibre for 2015 was Anna Graton Silk, Corriedale and Nylon Glitter.
This was a fibre some enjoyed and some disliked it.
3rd Fibre for 2015 is an Alpaca Fleece
Karen Tan of Bonaton Alpaca has kindly given us a Fleece to share and experiment with.
We will be spinning the part of the fleece called the saddle. The neck which is shorter which will be used for felting and the Belly, Legs etc we still have to think about.
July - preparation, project discussion. August - Spinning technique and project progress. September - finished project.
Some of the Alpaca has already been washed and as you can see from Helen and Anne's samples with varying results. Vanish seems to definitely be the washing powder to use in this instance.
Some of the finished Items
Blue Beanie - Carol
Mauve Scarf -
Vest - Helene
Green Autumn Tone Necklace - Gill
2nd Fibre for 2015 is a Mohair fleece. The fleece is from a young goat (4th shearing) and it has some vegetable matter and dandruff. Discussion on properties of mohair and how to wash took place with notes given out and suggested web sites for further research.
Most had no problem washing this fibre.
A variety of methods of spinning and dyeing were tried: -
- Spinning a Knops Yarn for weaving
- Dyeing with food colouring and blending with Alpaca
- When spun finely dandruff fell out - others found this a problem
- Spun and knitted to show halo effect and that mohair hand spun does not shed
- Mohair spun up as a coarse fibre so plied with wool to soften
- Mohair dyed with food colouring, spun with light twist and knitted on large needles to give a soft feel.
Helene gave a demonstration of Long Draw which requires well prepared fleece and will stop overtwisting of yarn to give a soft and balanced yarn.
We have all been a little tardy finishing this fibre but most have projects started.
This shawl has had the Mohair plied with merino and has a very soft and thick feel.
Cowel is Mohair dyed with food colouring and blended with brown Alpaca.
2015 started off with some very fine Polwarth fibre in a range of natural colours: We were given at the end of last year. Those who had spun it, found it a delight to spin. Some members planned to spin fine, others preferred bulky weight. We discussed the possibility of spinning a fine fibre into a bulky weight being liable to pill when exposed to any abrasion. There was a suggestion of slightly felting it, using it for light use projects or de pilling the garment when necessary.
The first fibre studied was the Coopworth
Although this was not as fine a fibre as many were used to some wonderful projects were made, ranging from crocheted tea cosies to woven hand bags. In January 2015, some of us presented our Coopworth made into a project and the general consensus remained that we didnít enjoy using it. Some of the projects were: a dyed, woven bag and matching purse (the strap is an inkle weaving); a small white crocheted purse; a dyed crocheted tea cosy (the flowers are Corriedale); a dyed and woven table runner, a pink dyed knitted teapot stand/cosy; a pin loom woven
cushion and a bobbin of lace weight yarn.