I Made Bad Yarn
Despite warnings, I tried to cut corners on my recent spinning project. As a direct result, I made bad yarn. Fortunately, I was able to turn it into something wonderful anyway.
How And Why I Made Bad Yarn
When it all comes down to it, I ignored clear messages from the farm I bought the fleece. I also tried a new method of processing the wool that I wasn’t sure would work. Finally, I got lazy when it came to carding the fleece.
First of all, I was very eager to spin yarn from the fleece of a local sheep. The local sheep farm told me they had a fleece with a short staple from one of their Jacobs (Minette). They said it was lightly skirted and not scoured at all. They also said it had quite a bit of guard hairs. The also had a Romney cross fleece from a different farm, but I wanted Minette.
Besides, it was 2.5 pounds of fiber for $30. What could go wrong?
Here’s what I should have done:
- Laid out the fleece and completed a thorough skirting (removing the parts of the fleece that hand down and pick up poo, pee and barnyard debris).
- Scoured and degreased the fleece.
- Completed a thorough picking, removing second cuts, more barnyard debris and unusable pieces of fiber.
- Card the fleece, carefully removing any additional second cuts, barnyard debris and guard hairs.
- Spun the carded fleece.
What I actually did:
- Decided it was too cold outside to lay out the fleece on my deck and opt not to skirt, scour, degrease or pick through the fleece.
- Hastily carded the fleece, minimally removing barnyard debris and second cuts.
- Spun the badly carded fleece in-the-grease. Removing small bits of unusable fiber, more barnyard debris, and did fiber-preparation on-the-fly as I spun it where the wool wasn’t carded very well.
- Scoured and degreased the finished yarn.
What did I end up with? A somewhat brittle yarn with quite a few weak spots where it broke when I was using it. It also had a halo of somewhat prickly guard hairs that made it bad for any garment worn on sensitive areas of skin.
What I Did With Bad Yarn
I mentioned in the last blog entry that I started a hat with the handspun Jacob that needed to be ripped out. That was after two other attempts to crochet or knit this yarn that was also ripped out.
I tried putting this handspun into the circular sock knitting machine. It turns out, it makes wonderful socks!
I made two beautiful pairs of socks on the machine. Yes, the color variation in the fiber is pronounced. But that I blame on the sheep breed. I’m hopeful that the ruddy yarn will hold up well when worn. Fingers crossed.
I also knit up another pair of the Rose’s Fingerless Mitts.
These mitts also made with handspun that I wasn’t quite so impatient with.
Overall, a busy weekend of wool pursuits, no?
2 comments on “I Made Bad Yarn”
I learned the hard way that buying raw fleeces and prepping them isn’t worth the time and effort for me. There are mills that sell prepped fiber for almost as cheap. One of my favorites is https://rhlindsaywool.com/?fbclid=IwAR3clOen9fWWdKhaClptvBzzx5_sXBIkC-KXMduAS3QOUzsb_TshB6db2I4
I love the bright toes. Where you able to get the guard hairs out as I’d think they would be scratchy. I’ve carried Wooly Nylon when I’ve knitted socks to make the yarn stronger. I’m not sure you could do that on a machine.
Thanks. I have worked with fleeces in the past and will probably do it again. And I didn’t remove any guard hairs, but the socks aren’t scratchy.