Monday, 4 March 2013

A Mystery Spin ... My First Spinning Commission

An Instagram friend (@amberweinberg) recently contacted me to say she had a mysterious lot of fiber that she didn't know what to do with, and didn't want to spin it for herself.  She went on to ask whether I could spin it for her but this was a tricky request as it was an unknown weight of fiber of an unknown origin. Needless to say, I was intrigued and excited all at the same time. I had never been asked to do any spinning for someone else before, and I didn't know how to answer any of her questions such as how long it might take or how many balls of wool it would make.

After a few to-ing and fro-ing of emails, we decided I would give it a go without many of the decisions being made, as I would have to weigh and feel the fiber first to see what I had to work with. Amber requested that I attempt to make a sock weight yarn with the fiber, and I agreed to give it my best effort.

Within a few days I received a lovely fluffy delivery in the post. Here's the reveal photo ... seconds after opening the parcel:

It was a lovely naturally coloured ball of fiber which weighed 262 grams. I could tell it was sheep in origin from the smell, and it looked pure and not blended with another type of fiber. The staple length was longish (about  4-5") and the crimp quite relaxed. It felt and looked almost like fine hair in comparison to say merino fiber where you can't distinguish the individual fibers due to the fluffiness. This was an unknown entity to me, as I had never spun fiber like it before.

Even after a little online research, I couldn't isolate the breed of sheep this fiber was from. So I decided I would just have to wing-it!

Putting down other WIPs in eagerness to begin this new project I decided to do a test spin that evening to see how it would behave.

After posting this early progress pic on Instagram, someone suggested that the fiber might have some Angora in it. Although it looks this way, it just wasn't nearly soft enough to contain any.

Backing some of the spun fiber up to see how it would ply, I took this photo for Amber to see:

It looked like it would produce a lovely fluffy looking yarn of fairly even consistency.

Here I am, mid-draft!

Quite a few evenings later, I finally had two full and contented bobbins all ready for plying:

And here is the first of four skeins pre-bath and set.

So the yield from this interesting mystery spin was:
  • 2 large skeins

  • 2 small skeins

  • approx. total yardage: 371 (or 339 meters)

  • sock to DK weight 2-ply
I was very happy with the result, as it washed up beautifully to become even whiter and even more lofty.

What's more, Amber was delighted with her new yarn. Here's a photo of the yarn back with its rightful owner (courtesy of Amber's IG feed):

I would be grateful to hear from any spinners who recognise this fiber and can tell me the sheep breed it might come from.

All in all, a very enjoyable and satisfying spin :)

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