I have knit for over 30 years now. I have been spinning for about 12 years. I have taken multiple workshops on fiber preparation, sheep breeds, and spinning techniques.
Still a Rank Amateur
At this year’s Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat last month, one of the participants, Tommy, was slated to give a talk as the owner of a spinning mill. He gave a slideshow/talk on fiber preparation and I was completely blown away.
Tommy has raised sheep most of his life and gave us a glimpse of just how much there is to understanding fiber. Everything from choosing a good fleece (or asking a sheep owner for a specific shearing), to skirting (which is way more than just removing the poo-sticky ends of the fleece), to the temperature of water to use for scouring, and the best degreaser, etc., etc., etc. A 60 minute speech and fleece review was completely full of amazing information.
It also made me realize that I will always use a skillful mill to process fleeces into roving or yarn, even if they’re a bit more expensive.
You’ll see in my “Current” section below that I’m currently spinning one of Tommy’s premier rovings. He taunted me with it at the retreat, and then said he doesn’t usually sell this blend and he definitely doesn’t keep it in stock. Of course, I had to have it…the best of the best…he’s a talented fiber processor and a more talented salesperson.
Tommy doesn’t have a web site up at the moment, but as soon as he does, I will buy as much as I can afford, and then let y’all know it’s open.
I ended up finishing the Bright Lizard scarf yesterday.
It still needs to be blocked, but it will end up being a little wider than 5 inches and about 6′ long. I love the way the crayon colors patterned in almost a chevron shaping in the scarf.
I also started spinning up Tommy’s special blend (Merino, Bunny, Alpaca, Silk and lamb…I think I’m missing some). He holds back special top quality fleeces and fibers, and only makes this blend when he has the right components to make it.
I am truly making one of the nicest yarns I’ve ever spun. It’s soft and lofty and lustrous and gorgeous…if I do say so myself. I don’t recommend this kind of blend for new spinners, as the differing staple lengths and textures of the fibers require a constant attention to drafting evenly. And Tommy wanted me to be very clear that he doesn’t stock this roving and it’s not likely it will be available any time soon. 😛