Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Spinning Wensleydale fleeces part 2

Last evening I decided to make a start on spinning up the black Wensleydale whilst watching a really interesting programme on BBC2 about life in the 1930's - what a lot of tweed there was around in those days. My goodness, the ocean liners were packed with people dressed in it.

If we all wore as much these days the Harris Tweed industry would be booming! I think we should start a movement called "Love your Tweeds".

Anyway, back to the Wensleydale - a nice soft fleece with staple of about 4-5 inches and light brown tips to add to the joy of it all.
The aim with this sort of spinning is to get it as thin yet as textured as possible without leaving weak bits. Each fleece is different, so each one has to be spun slightly differently. Some need a hefty twist to get them together, others just a gently draft and off it goes beautiful and curly. Anyway, this is nice fleece which will give a good curly finish with a medium twist.

The actual spinning is quite physical - I use an Ashford wheel with a jumbo flyer and bobbins which hold about 80m of raw yarn. As the bobbin gets fuller you have to wind the bobbin in manually as the tufty bits get caught round the flier hooks. I have often thought about using a spindle wheel for the thick yarn, but have never got around to sourcing one, or saved up enough to be able to buy one.

Watch this space for more exciting installments in The Story of Wensleydale Spinning.....

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