Spin de Fleece 2020 Chatter for Prep (until the actual event kicks off)

If you are getting excited about the Spin de Fleece, here is your place to share! As the weeks get closer, we’ll organize forums for our individual groups, but for now, if you’re prepping a fleece, sorting your stash, or buying a new spindle or wheel, or whatever you’re doing to get ready, this is your place to share!

(Oh, no - she said it… buying a new spindle! - not sure if I dare…)

I have been practicing with some new fiber prepping tools and have finished scouring a Romney fleece. Also, the gray Shetland fleece from last year’s event is ready for further action. I hope to get that spin launched soon. Looking forward to seeing what others have lined up.

@Char – Spindles are the BEST and least expensive way to try spinning! I say–YES!! You can even make your own from a wooden dowel and toy wooden wheel from Menards, but I say find a nice one on Etsy. The Spindolyn is a nice way to learn, I’m sure. The Woolery has all kinds, some even around $15 or $22, great for learning on. And drop spindles are NOT just a beginner’s tool–I’ve seen some pretty amazing yarn spun and in a pretty quick fashion by people who love to spin. Abby Franquemont’s book, Respect the Spindle, is a great book to start with. Oh yes, I just did it–I encouraged another rabbit hole…

So, @Carlota - what are you using for new fiber prepping tools? I’m actually borrowing a drum carder–from a friend of a friend of a friend… Going to pick it up today! I emailed a fiber-dyeing friend to ask if she had one I could rent. She said hers was too old and she was worried about it giving problems, but she passed on my request and I got 2 replies from people. One is going to rent me both her drum carder (a narrow one) and her wool picker, for $25 a week, and the other one is letting me use her drum carder (a wider one) for no charge! So I get to give them both a try and see which kind I like best, which is nice before making a huge investment. I’m going to use it for my Shetland fleece, but I might also have fun playing around with mixing some colors of a tub of mostly merino that I bought from a lady back when I started spinning and she wanted to sell her felting fiber. So excited!

My favorite type of spindle is a Turkish spindle. They make a center pull ball and plying is so easy.

I want to try a Turkish spindle–I’ve heard great things about them!

Hi @rkennell! You did great to find not one but TWO drum carders to try out - I did not get a chance to do that but it has worked out fine that I bought the Brother Deluxe Standard 90 tpi, at least so far no problem. The other fiber tools I bought were a pair of Valkyrie Extra Vine wool combs, and they are very nice. I’m using them in combination with a hackle I have had for about a year, and then I’ve learned to diz off the combed top. I’ve been doing this with the Romney I got from Maryland Sheep and Wool about the same time you got your Shetland. Did you get to see Lisa of Soulful Spinning lately? Her last 3 YouTubes are about Shetland. She also linked a lady that makes carded batts from her Shetlands that she raises and the point both of them made was that flicking locks first makes a smoother prep. Also Roy Clemes had a good, long video during his Summer Camp all about drum carding - he really promotes his “Lock Pop.” I sort of tried the idea by clamping a hand carder down to a cement block next to the carder. After I flick my locks, I give them a final opening up before spreading them very thinly on the infeed tray. I guess the picker would be similar and that would be neat to try out. You have a bunch of fun stuff to try. I’ve been making a dizzed roving right off the drum, as shown in the Roy Clemes video. (I think it was linked from the Clemes and Clemes site.)

I keep spying @PurlgirlButtons nano …

@Carlota, thank you! I did not see those videos–I’ll definitely check them out! I picked up the one carder yesterday and it is VERY old–it even has a chain for the pulleys, and the front licker-in roller is not movable, so it wants to keep grabbing the fiber from the larger drum. She told me she is wanting to sell it and would let it go for $250, but I am thinking it is NOT what I want. I thought maybe it’s because I’m not used to the Shetland fiber, so I got out the “scrap fiber” that I had–the combed top merino and it is still not going the greatest, so I think I will definitely return it to her! It will be interesting to try out the other drum carder. I have some combs being made by a local guy, but haven’t heard back from him yet. Sounds like you are on your way!

Yes, the Nano–I told my husband I am thinking of that one for taking camping!

@rkennell That’s exciting about your combs. There is a lot more to drum carding than I realized, since most of the videos I had watched were about art batts. I like smooth batts with heathering and no neps (but tweed OK). So I am finding out that there is a lot of preparation before drum carding to give me the result I will like, and so far I am doing okay but it does take time to figure it out. I think locks take more time to open up than mill-combed top. It is good that you can rent/borrow a machine to get the feel of it. I also used some inexpensive combed top to practice with, and I basically duplicated the confetti cake batt that Mary Egbert demonstrated on her Drum Carding for Tweed Yarn free class here: https://welcome.camaj-school-of-fiber-arts.com/courses/carding-for-tweed-yarn

@Carlota -Thanks for that link. I will definitely watch it. I watched one of Soulful Spinning’s episodes on Shetland and she mentioned needing to open up the locks, so last night I flicked a bunch of them on both ends and I was amazed at how the neps all but disappeared! But again, I feel like the drum carder might be an issue. I tried feeding them through, but I think between the fact that the 2 drums can’t be adjusted for distance and that the teeth on the cloth are very very old, I’m eager to see what the newer carder would do. I’m waiting to hear back from the gal with the other carder–she’s not seen my email yet, so don’t know if she’s on vacation or what. But I did take some of the flicked locks and use them on my hand cards and it made a lovely carded fluff, but the cards are really not wide enough to make a rolag. So I think I’ll work on getting the locks prepped while waiting for the carder. There’s enough of that job to keep me going for a long time!

@Carlota, I found this You Tube video (I think it was mentioned by Soulful Spinning) and it is a really nice demonstration of how to card Shetland locks onto a drum carder. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2zSOp8mM00&t=2s

@rkennell That was excellent - thank you! Is that how you might try to card yours? It does help so much watching other people. I wonder if you ever ran across this one (Corriedale, not Shetland, but she gets a very nice result): https://youtu.be/mblcjXoEGuE

That was a helpful video–thanks for sharing it! I’ll certainly give it a try. I got the smaller drum carder yesterday and it is a newer one. I am finding that running it through 3 times does make a smoother spin experience, so we’ll see if that happens for the whole fleece. I have rented it for 2 weeks but might find I need more time! But the newer one does work nicely. It’s a Brother Baby drum carder. The biggest challenge will be getting all the locks flicked!

@rkennell That’s great - I am finding that getting the locks ready to drum card is taking me quite a while - I’ll flick maybe 2 ounces over a couple of mornings and then get them carded, then start spinning in the afternoon, and I can’t keep all 3 activities totally in sync but there is progress - some days I don’t card because I don’t have enough locks ready. It is good to rest one’s hands and not strain with any one step for too long. I like my Brother carder and the price is certainly attractive. I would love to have a Clemes and Clemes but they are expensive.

I look forward to seeing your prepping process! Post some pics!

So, I’m wondering if the category teams are going to have catchy names, i.e Romney Rookies, Rambouillet Regulars, Merino Mavericks, Cormo Challengers, etc. …just a random thought…

I love your ideas! Those are perfect!