Friday, April 30, 2010

Trip to the Spinnery

On Tuesday we went to the Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney,VT to see our white wool being made into yarn!  The Spinnery's carding and spinning machines were made in the 1930s.  It was so cool being able to see our wool, that used to be SO dirty, really clean and finally being spun.  Because Mom's cell phone is broken, we didn't get the message in time to see the wool being carded on the big machine and made into pencil-roving last week.  When you card the wool it makes all the fibers go in the same direction. Then it is divided in to thin strips called pencil-roving.  Once it's made into the roving, it is twisted into "singles" which can then be plied into yarn.  Here is a bobbin with the singles...

We had our wool made into very fine singles so we could ply two strands for sock weight and four strands for sweater weight yarn.  This is about as fine as you can get Border Leicester wool - they weren't even sure they could get it as fine as Mom wanted it, but it worked perfectly!  When we were there, we saw four strands of the singles being twisted together to make four-ply worsted weight yarn, like the yarn used in traditional Aran sweaters.  First the bobbins were put on the top of the spinning machine and the strands were threaded up through some eyelets to keep them from getting tangled and to help maintain tension.

Then they were fed down through some rollers and finally through red travelers, to keep the 4 strands together as they are being spun onto bobbins.  Gail set everything up.

She spun a little bit of yarn, and then we got a sample off one of the bobbins.  It wasn't quite right - there was too much twist in the yarn.  See how the bottom is twisting?  It should hang straight.

So Gail had to change the gears...

Here is the spinning machine spinning our yarn...  It is wrapping very quickly around the bottom bobbins, which move up and down so the yarn wraps around the whole bobbin and not just in one place.

Here is me and Gail (you can see in the background the bobbins are lower)...

And here is the second yarn sample, with the correct twist...

I love our yarn!  It's a beautiful round yarn, very soft, and it has a nice halo (the little fuzzies) because it was spun woolen, rather than worsted (it's worsted weight, but not spun in the worsted way - the Green Mountain Spinnery only spins woolen because that's how their carding machine cards.  It's a little confusing, but I can explain it if you ask.)  Since it is white wool, it is from the fleeces of Cutie, Jumper, Lucy and Baa Baa.  The colored wool from Miss Fudge, Amy and Bunny is going to be carded and spun next.  We're going to go back to the Spinnery to see the colored wool being carded.

After we get all our yarn back from the Spinnery, we are going to go to fleece and wool shows and sell our yarn!  We might dye some of it first.  And I've been working on designing a label for our yarn, which we are going to call Mimi's Woolies. When I get a few more samples sketched up, I will post them and you'll have to tell me which one you like best.  But for now, what do you think of our yarn?

1 comment:

  1. Anna, I love your post! You are getting to be quite a good writer, and I like that you are writing more posts! I can't wait for your next Meet the Animals post! Love, Mimi