Saturday, October 10, 2009

FarmGirlChic - Phat Fiber Sample

Well, my friends, we're nearing the end of my samples, and what a lot of fun I've had! Today brings us the only "un-prepped" fiber in the box, a bag of lovely locks of border leicester wool dyed blue, and undyed yearling mohair. Open up this bag and you get a solid handful of curly bits of fiber tumbling everywhere. The mohair has a brilliant shine and the border leicester is dyed to a gorgeous deep blue. So it's not really a surprise that Farm Girl Chic has named it "Little Boy Blue".

You can spin right from locks if you have some way to open them up. Luckily, I do own a couple of dog brushes from the time I spun locks for a Spindler's Group Challenge. So I considered spinning these straight up into a strand of blue and a strand of white. But even more appealing to me was the idea of blending them together. The white mohair would mute the deeper navy blue, and also give the yarn a beautiful halo.

I started by sorting the mohair from the wool, and then pulled out each lock and combed it using my dog brush (much like a flick-carder, but at $3.99 for a set with it and pointy-toothed comb, it's much more budget-conscious than finding a flick-carder). This opens up the fibers so you can draft them from each other. I also sorted the longer locks from the shorter ones and placed everything in a pile. I also had a separate pile of the fluff that stayed caught in the brush.

At this point I still could have spun the two parts into individual singles. In fact if I kept the longer bits from the shorter, I could have spun the border leicester into something very close to true worsted yarn. But as I mentioned, that wasn't my goal.

FarmGirlChic - Phat Fiber Sample
Instead I got out my hand-cards once again. I felt pretty confident with my recent attempts at their use. I loaded them up with bits of both the wool and mohair and carded four batts. I stacked these up on top of each other, and split them four ways (so that each batt was included in the new clump) and re-carded that fiber again. The batts were a little thin, so I divided them again but three ways and blended one last time.

Now I had three batts of beautifully blended cornflower blue. The mohair softened out the border leicester and gave it a silky hand in the batt. I spun each one from the tips but using a long-draw for a semi-worsted yarn, and doubled it back on itself for a two-ply. Then I wound the yarn over my hand and got out my pedicure brush. The fun thing about mohair is if you brush the yarn gently the halo will pop right up.

FarmGirlChic - Phat Fiber Sample
This was a lovely sample. I'm not sure what people would do with it if they didn't have preparation tools available. A generous 14 gram sample means I have about a half-ounce of finished yarn that spun into 29 yards of 2-ply, fluffy goodness!

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