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Wool & Yarns  the spinning wheel                                                                             

 Hand Spinning raw fleece is one of the most peaceful occupations that you can imagine! And also very therapeutic, because the rhythm of the turn of the wheel tends to calm the mind Spun wooland I believe is as good as any meditation to ease the heart!

spun yarnI take great pleasure in using the natural colours of fleece, I have in the past dyed wool into a myriad of beautiful colours, I enjoyed it and the wool was gorgeous!  But I have discovered that I really prefer to use a natural colours of the fleece as they are! and the thought that such beautiful and subtle colours can be got from something as unprepossessing as a freshly sheared fleece is very satisfying and amazing, because no fleece turns out the same as you expect! 

Spinning LadyThis is just my way of working, but dying fleece is a wonderful occupation too if you are drawn to it, particularly if you collect the ingredients from the wild... perhaps in the future I will do this again, but at the moment I am quite happy simply creating beautiful things out of natural colours.Frances Green Spinning wool

 Personally I have rarely used commercially prepared fleece, (this is known as tops) it comes beautifully carded in long lengths or on a cone, and it is extremely easy to spin into a nice and even yarn.  Per se I have no problem with it, but to me personally I feel that it is the ‘process’ of taking the raw fleece, and in a very short while producing usable and often very beautiful yarn that is an integral part of spinning wool, or indeed any sort of yarn, and so I do not get the same sort of satisfaction from spinning commercially produced and prepared fleece. It is a personal thing and I would certainly not suggest that other people should follow my example. 

Using commercially prepared yarn actually opens the door to a variety of rich colours and textures… but I prefer to rely on the natural shades of the yarn, or as I have in the past, to dye the yarn myself using natural ingredients such as tree bark, berries and lichen.  This produces gentle muted colours that look as if they are part of nature, as indeed they are!

 Note: Dec 2015...I have had to amend this as people who wish to learn to spin need to be introduced to all sorts of wool product, so at the moment I am using both, and I have to admit that I am really enjoying experimenting with commercially prepared 'Tops' ...quite hooked in fact!

(see Gallery of Yarn for results!)

ThereFrank and wool are many ways to mix parts of the fleece to give both different textures and different shades of colour, when using a coloured fleece or blending it, the best way to work is to pre card the raw wool using a pair of wooden carders (or a mechanical card if Wool and FrankSilver birch wool

you can afford one) but personally again I like to use the wooden carders because I am working in a way that wool has always been carded for generations. (see carding)

 

My way of working is to sort the fleece out before I start, and then decide what mixture of shades or colours I wish to use.  It is possible to change the character of the fleece as you are spinning, but remember that a whole bobbin constitutes a hank of wool, and you may not wish to have too much variation if you are using the whole hank for a garment or a

(Right) Yarn inspired by Silver Birch bark

particular project. when I have enough wool spun that I do not have a project for in mind, I offer the wool for sale, and it always seems to be in demand these days. (if you are doing this remember to put the weight of the wool hank and whether it is double knitting or single ply or whatever on a little label, also washing instructions for pure new wool are essential!) I also sometimes offer hands spun wool fingerless mittens, scarves and socks which are very popular with our local farmers!  Nothing can ever keep you as warm and snug as pure wool!

 Blu in Basket I am writing this page at the beginning of October, and I look forward to a winter of spinning up a mound of wool! My fleeces are already to be processed, and it is a lovely thought that I can spend many hours in front of a log fire, spinning wool to my hearts content then skeining it ready for either making up into something beautiful, or selling as it is. 

 Blu.

  (TIP: The best way I have found to sell this sort of product is at a farmers market that includes some craft stalls.  Hand Spun Wool is usually acceptable at local farmers markets because it is only one step away from the raw product!  And it will cause a great deal of interest amongst the farmer's wJasper in the sunshine!ives, many of whom seemspinning fleece from local sheep eager to learn to spin themselves.)

Jasper         Through the winter I shall record and take pictures of the products I am making and add them to this page GALLERY of YARN... also any tips that I think will help you improve your own yarn. But without doubt the best way to learn is to keep on going! Such a simple and ancient process, let common sense be your guide!  

 

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