Friday, 8 May 2009

First May Phatfiber sneak peek!

Can you believe it? It's nearly time for the next Phat Fiber box!

This month Sheepshape Spinning has sent in fifty samples, more or less evenly split between yarn and fiber. That is, if the "Garden Explosion" pencil roving isn't counted as both yarn AND fibre! Pencil roving is a thick unspun line of wool, about the thickness of a thinnish pencil, that has a bit of twist in it - just enough to keep it from falling apart, but not quite enough to call it spun yarn. But you can knit with it if you like!

Here is the "Garden Explosion" colourway. Each mini-skein is at least 1/4 ounce of wool:

To spin from a pencil roving, you will need to predraft, because the fibres get a little bit compressed in the processing. Start at one end and hold a strand of the roving in your hands with your hands a few inches apart, and pull gently. The fibres will move apart - the trick is to let them extend and fluff up without pulling so much that you end up with two pieces of roving. Once you've predrafted that bit, move your fingers along a few inches and do it again. It can take a while but makes the spinning much easier.

If you have trouble working with pencil roving, I suggest spinning it in the opposite direction to what you usually do. When you're making the single, spin your wheel or spindle counter-clockwise, and ply it clockwise. This is because the small amount of existing twist in the roving is in the clockwise direction. When I first started spinning this kind of roving I found it difficult to draft it while spinning it because the roving twist and the wheel twist would build on each other and make it difficult to draft. But by spinning it backward, the wheel helps to pull the roving's twist *out*, leaving you free to draft as needed.

1 comment:

Alpaca Granny said...

Hey, great suggestion on spinning the pencil roving backwards. Thanks.