25 May 2006

Spinning Under the Influence

Before we headed to the airport in Louisville on Monday, we stopped at the Liquor Barn near our hotel to pick up some bourbon. I followed Jennifer's recommendation and bought a small bottle of Woodford Reserve. I cracked open the bottle tonight after dinner to give it a try. It did not disappoint - smooth, warm, spicy, very nice. Not being much for drinking, I expect this 375mL bottle to last us quite a while, but I shall savor every bit. Now I just need to find the nearest mint patch so I can try it in a mint julep.

After that little libation (honestly, officer, it was at least an hour or two, and I only had a sip), I sat down at the spinning wheel to work a bit on some shetland x icelandic roving I bought last year at Fiber Frolic. I actually started spinning it a bit before I left for Kentucky, and I've nearly got one bobbin filled now.

It's kind of fun to work with, mostly because all I've really spun the past several months is alpaca, but also because I feel like I'm getting a better feel for the fiber and learning to treadle slowly enough that I'm not putting too much twist into the singles. That said, the outer and inner coats aren't blended terribly well, and there are neps from the undercoat that are making it spin up kind of slubby. I'm sure a more experienced spinner could do more to make this a bit more even yarn, but I'm not overly worried and expect that it'll make for a nice enough hat yarn in the end.

There's also a fair bit of grease in this wool. For me this isn't a problem. My hands get so dry from washing them constantly at work, that it's kind of nice to have a bit of built-in moisturizer. David, however, is allergic to something in the yolk, which he discovered when he was learning to spin with wool and his hands broke out in a bad rash. Purified lanolin doesn't cause him any trouble so it might actually be from topical chemicals used on the sheep to control parasites, but he won't go near a raw fleece and I have to make sure I wash my hands after spinning wool, just to be safe and to keep the peace.


Anonymous said...

A Shetland X Icelandic sounds really neat, since both breeds are dual-coated. And it should make cool hats. Meg Swansen did a *huge* coat in unspun icelandic singles, and noted one of the things she liked is that the guard hairs (outer coat) held the snow up off the surface of the hat.

Interesting also about David not being able to work with wool. I wonder how many people with "wool allergies" don't actually have them. Can he work at all with wool -- like heavily commercially processed stuff? You'd think that fiber that's been through a carbonization process to get rid of VM would be okay. (Though I doubt he'd work with fibre that's been that harshly treated in the first place?)

Tallguy said...

Most often, I find that it's not the wool that people are allergic to, but to all the chemicals that are used on the animals, and in the processing. But try to tell that to someone who "knows" he is allergic to wool! Yes, better wash up if you are going to get close to hubby!

I would think that it would be better to separate the outer and the inner coats, and work with them individually. Blending the short and the long hairs can be a very delicate balance... the more you work it, the more neps you get. Do you have some combs? Have you tried a small amount? There would be some waste, but you may be able to salvage something out the waste. But let's see it plied and knit up first!