Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In which two wooly wrongs make a spinning right

It all started with a wonderful chocolate brown Romeldale fleece.  Well, when I say "wonderful," I mean it's incredibly crimped, phenomenally soft, and amazingly thick.  Thicker in fact than any Merino or Rambouillet I've ever handled.  So I washed it (couldn't get all the lanolin out no matter what I tried, but I got most of it).  Then I tried combing it and carding it.  Then I threw up my hands and gave up in disgust because the incredible crimp and fine fiber meant it was impossible to work with.

Fast forward to today, when I told myself "Self, you must clear out more of the fiber stash.  Get spinning."  At the top of the pile was the luscious chocolate Romeldale.  "Surely," said I to myself, "now that I'm so much more experienced a spinner and comber and so on, I'll have no problem!"

Yep, that's an attempt at combing it.  Pass after pass just made my elbows hurt and made the fiber start to noil (knot up on itself).  Worse yet, when I tried spinning the one precious ounce I'd managed to comb, I was miserable with the results.  It was uneven and knotty and wouldn't hold together.  When I tried to draft it at the thickness I wanted I just couldn't get it to cooperate.

So I dug out my Rambouillet X Targhee X Polypay fleece (I have 7 lbs of it, I might was well, right).  That one doesn't have to potential to give me so many fits, but it's very full of VM, and very, very disorganized.  One lock of each shown below in each photo...

Rambo X on the right uncombed; Romeldale on the left
The Romeldale in the center has been combed
Believe it or not, when combed out fully, the two fleeces have the same lock length.  That's right.  That tiny inch of Romeldale on the right combs out at rest to what you see in the center, but fully combed under tension it's as long as the Rambouillet cross is.

And this is what I got when I combed them together:

It spins as easy or easier than anything else I've ever worked with, hand prepped or mill provided.  It's gorgeous and even and does exactly what I tell it to do.

The only down side is that Adele tells me it looks like my grey hair.

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