Waste Not

I haven't spoken about spinning for quite some time.  that doesn't mean that I haven't been spinning.  On the contrary, spinning is an ongoing and almost daily event in our house, so much so, that it has become mundane and I haven't bothered to say anything about it on here.  I am still preparing the wool I got from the shepherd last year.  He offered me more but I declined.  There is still a large laundry basket full of washed fibre waiting to be combed.

There are plans to dye the wool that I spin using plants from the finca and finally, to knit something to wear.  It's a long process.  The best fibre is combed and then spun on my wheel.  I then ply it (2 ply) and skein it up and put it into a bag ready for dying later.

After combing there is quite a lot of waste wool.  This is the short fibres and the bits full of grass seed and other crud that hasn't fallen out or been removed by the combing.  I bagged this up with the intention of digging it into the garden to help improve moisture retention for the veggies.  However I dug out my drop spindle and decided to try and use some of the waste wool.  I put the waste fibre through the hand carders and didn't worry too much about the bobbles that just wouldn't smooth out.  Some of the grass seed also refused to fall out, but this is rustic wool destined to be used on my continuous loom to make squares, eventually to be sewn together to make a blanket. So I figured it didn't really matter.

Its very pleasant working with the spindle, unlike the wheel you are mobile and able to walk around while spinning.  The only hindrance is having to come back for more fibre.  Aha... I thought, I have a distaff which I have never used.  A quick search around the internet revealed how little is known about using the distaff for wool rather than flax, but it can be used for wool and there are pictures from medieval times depicting women using their drop spindles and carrying their distaffs pretty much wherever they went.  I did have a go with it but found it very awkward and heavy and it simply got in the way, so I improvised, turning my wrist into a distaff and loading it up with as much fluffy wool as I could manage... it worked a treat.

While spinning away I mused about those medieval women, or the Viking women who also spun everywhere and anywhere and likened myself to them.  But realistically I think they would laugh at my efforts.  My rustic yarn (the term art yarn applies, and masks a million failings) is probably akin to what the smallest child, just beginning to learn, could make.

Here is St Ann spinning and having the exact same issue that I do. With 2 kittens in the house it's hard to keep the spindle tangle free. Nice that some things never change.


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