Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First-shear spinning

My little ewe, just 1 year old now, who was too small for breeding last autumn, was kept on as a fleece sheep. I liked the feel of her locks. But with her half-heritage of Easy Care shedding sheep, she began to throw her coat before I got to it this April, so I set out to shear her before she shot the lot!
I selected about 1.5 lbs of her neck and back locks for spinning.
first shear 2011 2

There is a sprinkling of short, very white kemp fibers (Easy Care hairs) in the fleece but it's pretty easy to identify and remove and it tends to hop out during spinning and plying. The vast majority are soft silky fibers.  It's a pretty clean fleece, with virtually no VM and only mildly greasy so I spun it unwashed

The fibers were a bit too fine for my flick carder so these mini carders (which has a higher pin density)  worked better:
As a first shear (obviously she was not shorn last year), her coat fibers are softer than the mature sheep 'though the locks are quite long - around 6 inches. Also, the tips are soft and best pulled off before processing:

The tips just pull off.
 Lashed on but tips not pulled off yet.

Carding - just 2 passes.

 Drawn off long-ways.

 Ready for spinning

Its being spun on the Traveler, supported tw long draw. Ratio  9:1; 5 treadles out over 18 inches treadle one in - which  only comes to 6(9)/18 or 3 twists per inch - a pretty low twist, but it hangs together and I want to keep it soft - plus it will be 2-plied which helps to strengthen it.

Mankey pinney and finger nails !!!

Blurry single on the bobbin.

Well, there's quite a long way to go but it's a nice job.

No comments: