General Ginger Knits

random thoughts on knitting and the universe

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Jarrell Plantation part 2

I trouped down to the next fun station at the Sheep to Shawl day at Jarrell Plantation with stinky sheep wool in hand. I stopped by a table where a woman was giving a drop spindle demonstration to a youngster. The kid was spinning his recently sheered wool like an expert!

I was given a demonstration of how to card the wool that I'd sheered. Basically it was like using two huge doggie hairbrushes. The brushes were curved and had stiff wire bristles. After placing the wool on the tines you brush the wool so that it all evens out and some of the farm trash comes out of it. Once it's nicely carded then you can roll it off the brush resulting in what is called a roll lag. This is new vocabulary to me and I tried to look this term up but couldn't find any reference to it. Anyone out there know if I'm spelling it right or know of another term to describe it?

It was pretty groovy carding that wool. I had no idea that it was so complicated. My instructor said that the wool could be washed either before or after the carding although she prefers to wash it before so that she can keep her carding brushes clean. I can believe it ya'll because there is still a bunch of farmyard trash in my wool. She also said that if left unwashed that eventually the natural lanoline in the sheep wool would go rancid. Now there's a pretty thought.

Next she showed me how to use a drop spindle to turn wool into yarn. You would think that she was showing me water to wine for how excited I got! I've heard all you nice folks online over the years talk about using a drop spindle and frankly I had no earthly idea how it was done. I'd never actually seen it used live and in living color. So I was ever so excited when I slipped that wool onto the drop spindle and gave it a shot myself. Wow, what fun. It sure takes practice though.

After experiencing the carding and spinning I was nearly exhausted and had yet to see any of the actual plantation. I really got have quite an appreciation now for those of you out there who actually process wool. It is very time consuming although, I imagine, very rewarding.

wool and spindle

Jumping ahead of my story abit I will tell you that I stopped by the gift shop on my way out and picked up some wool and a drop spindle. I grabbed several extra balls of wool as well cause I figured, what the heck, who knows when I'll be get another opportunity to get wool to spin?

Next time I'll show you the old fashioned dying process.


Blogger LMH said...

The word you want is rolag. Spinning is the coolest. Just wait till you knit with your very first yarn!

8:42 AM  
Blogger sturdygirl said...

Sounds like you had a fun time! That drop spindle technique looks hard, and time-consuming. But I'm sure creating your own yarn is very satisfying! I look forward to seeing your progress.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

Have you tried spinning yet? I cannot seem to master it..and have I tried! I think I would do much better on a wheel than with a drop spindle.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Tami said...

Wow, that is awsome. I enjoyed reading your experience with the drop spindle. I plan to learn how to do it myself. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Janice in GA said...

The drop spindle isn't really that hard to master, but (like anything else) it does take some practice. And it helps to have seen someone do it, or (better yet) have someone put the wool and spindle in your hand and show you how it works.
I love drop spindle spinning.

10:42 AM  
Blogger the knitrider said...

Im so happy you posted your whole experience! its great because a lot of knitters will never even know how yarn gets produced! thanks!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I'm edging closer and closer to trying my hand at spinning. You're making it sound very enticing.

10:33 PM  

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