I’m almost done with the single for my first learning exchange yarn. The topic is Merino, so I wanted to explore carded fiber spun woolen. I have never been happy with how Merino spins drafting against the twist, nor any similarly textured crimpy fine wool. It doesn’t draft smoothly, it clumps no matter what I do to it. Most fleeces I see are too long to spin well this way anyway, but I happen to have a small amount of shorter Merino fleece.

It’s horribly filthy, I’ve been flicking it to get all the gunk out thinking I might try carding it. I hand carded a bin of rolags. As much as I hate hand carding, for this small amount of fiber finding someone with a fine cloth drum carder would have taken longer than just doing it. I’m spinning a moderately fine single, with just a little more twist than the minimum required to hold the yarn together. I’m trying to keep it even but it’s just insane. I’m not going to stop every length to fix every last slub like I had to do for the COE. Long draw is supposed to be fast and the yarn soft and lofty, such low-twist yarn would have to be absolutely perfectly even to not have thick and thin bits. What little twist there is tends to go to the fine spots, leaving the thicker sections to puff up.

Less crimpy fibers draft into an even yarn reasonably well, but more crimp does nothing but clump. It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with fiber length, the same thing happend with the nasty mystery fleece and that was not even remotely near the theoretical 3 inch limit for woolen spinning. But it was a fine fiber with a tight crimp. As was the Columbia cross I tried. And no matter how much I spin of this kind of fiber, my yarn does not improve. I’ve gotten better at stretching the rolag out into yarn, but it always ends up drafting unevenly into either slubs or thin sections. Supposedly you pinch the rolag so you are drafting a consistent amount of fiber with each length, but where the streched-out rolag breaks into a thin yarn-sized spot happens basically at random. Almost never where I am holding it.

So I’m doing a 4-ply and then I’ll give it a good thrashing to full it. I might pick off the larger lumps, as I’m sure there will be some left. It’s basically what I did for the 16-ply cable I did of the mystery fleece, but I don’t feel like going through all that again.

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