Sunday, 7 September 2014

Spinning fleece and alpaca fibre on my Ashford wheel.

I've been doing lots of hand spinning lately which has been just lovely - especially sitting outside in the sunshine. A friend kindly gave me some alpaca fibre so I've been having a go at spinning that for the first time. I was also lucky in sourcing some washed and machine carded fleece this weekend and so it was great to compare three things - alpaca fibre, washed and machine carded fleece, and my usual unwashed and hastily carded fleece (because I can't wait to get spinning!). It was also great to really get stuck in with my new wheel - a birthday present this summer. It's an Ashford Kiwi and I'm loving it! I find it easier because the flyer and bobbin are directly in front of me on this wheel rather than over to the left - not as much strain on my back. There are also two treadles so both feet can be used - lovely. My verdict so far is that the washed and machine carded fleece is from spinning heaven! It's been a real revelation and makes life so very easy - there's also no waste. I struggled with the alpaca fibre - it feels dry and hasn't got as much'give' as fleece. It feels a strong fibre and softer when spun but it takes much more concentration and effort. My next trial will be washing the spun threads and seeing how differently they behave during that process. I've found 'The Ashford Book Of Spinning' by Anne Field a great help - first published in 1986 but still relevant and helpful. 
The pocket memory book kits are ready to go and I'm really pleased with how they've developed.
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