Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tunis Continued!!

In the first photo, there are samples of the Tunis fleece in the grease, and washed, followed by a knitting sample. My task was to spin up a sample of the fleece at DK weight (3 on the Craft Council "Yarn Standards Chart"). Wraps per inch on the chart called for 12-13 for DK size yarn, and my sample came in at 12. Perfect! I measured wraps per inch as I spun on my Ashford Joy wheel, pulling a sample and letting it double back on itself. I checked the size every so often as I spun, to insure consistency. I hard finished the sample in soapy warm water, snapped the skein a few times and let it dry. It fulled beautifully, and bloomed well. The knit sample shown in photo 2 shows 5 stitches to the inch on size 6 needles at the bottom of the sample, and 5 and a half stitches to the inch on size 5 needles at the top of the sample. Since I will be knitting a neck warmer, I will go with the tighter gauge on the size 5 needles, perfect for this yarn weight. The wheel shows the bobbins in progress. As I spin this Tunis, I can see how important it is to select a fleece with minimal second cuts. I did not realize how poorly this fleece was shorn when I purchased it. Many many second cuts (those little tiny clippings of wool, where the shearer went over a section of the sheep more than once with the clippers) throughout this fleece. I tried to remove as many as I could as I went through the processing phase, picking them out as I found them, and even as I carded, I picked out more. And, as I am spinning, they are ever present. I have resigned myself to allow those that are left to be part of the textural makeup of the cloth, but would have preferred not to have any! I will be ever vigilant in the future when examining fleeces at the festivals, to check the fleece carefully for the quality of the shearing. Experience is a wonderful thing. As Billy Joel once said, your mistakes are the only things you can truly call your own. Learn well from them! Never the less, this prime Tunis wool is lovely, soft and springy with plenty of elasticity, perfect for the intended end use! And a little unplanned textural element, which may be quite nice once knitted up! Lets go with it----sometimes the best things in life can be unplanned! I will post pictures of the neck warmer as soon as it is finished...til then, stay warm!

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