Monday, 18 February 2013

She's gone stark roving mad!

My apologies for the delay in posting a follow up to my post on alpaca fleece.  I've recently started a new job so my time is now much more limited with only two days a week to experiment around the house and somehow catch up with friends and family as well.  So I'm sad to say I have left the fleece alone for some time now.  

Orange roving - looks like something a ginger cat threw up
After returning from a trip to NZ to visit friends and family, my mother produced a bag with a few packets of roving which a friend who no longer spins had pulled out of that black hole at the back of her sewing cupboard where all lost fabric remnants seem to disappear.  At last - a way around the carding conundrum; I could experiment on this roving before outlaying money on the carders and also practice on some wool roving instead of destroying the lovely first clippings from Duchess the alpaca in my first attempt (read failure) at self-taught spinning. 

Makeshift scotch tension system
Contemplating the new bag of wool from my desk every now and then didn't lead to me getting any yarn spun, so after a couple of months I bit the bullet and decided I would have a go.  An afternoon of frustrated attempts on my own eventually led to me roping hubby into helping me.  The problem was that it took me quite a while to figure out that the spinning wheel is missing a part.  After trawling through a few pictures and videos  on spinning I realised that the scotch tension system wire is missing.  Note: substituting a piece of wool for this does not work all that well.  A few broken pieces of yarn later (both as the temporary tensioner and the roving I was failing to transform), an exasperated me resorted to getting hubby to hold the piece of wool and to hand spin the wheel  so I could figure things out at a snail's pace.  I was going to get some yarn out of it today dammit!

So here it is, photographic proof of my dodgy first dealings with the spinning wheel.  As you can see there is huge scope for improvement.  It looks as though I've snagged someone's dreadlocks and wound it onto the bobbin.


  1. Hi Vanessa! Oh wow you spin!!! Clever girl! I would LOVE to be able to do this. Currently Cookies fleece is drying off over the bath on a rack, after that I have no idea what to do with it, so will bag it up while I search for carders and a wheel. I guess it keeps well so will be there for whenever. I just love the idea of creating our own garments right from the fleece. It's this 'in between bit' that we have to master. Good on you for doing it! Jacqui

    1. Hi Jacqui. Not sure that I'm that clever, just that I've had a go, albeit with a spinning wheel that's missing a part :). Thanks for the compliment all the same. I've read that the wool stores well but you do need to let it "breathe" so don't tie the bag up tight (might be more important for alpaca though). Good luck with your attempts at spinning. I'd love to hear how you go. It'd be very special to have something made from the fleece of an animal you own.


  2. I love your bobbin of 'dreadlocks'! I look forward to seeing what you make from Duchess' fleece eventually. David.

    1. Thanks David. I'll be starting my ED rotation next week (I'm an intern) so I'll have some weekdays free to work on it, especially if this rain keeps up.


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