Thursday, 23 December 2010
Spinning: Now with More Bovinae Ungulates!
I have conquered the buffalo.
It was probably the most patience-trying down fibers I've tried spinning. It was fluffy and soft and once the radiator got turned on for the winter it was a stat-icky mess. The staple length was only about a half inch, so i just grabbed handfuls of it, fluffed it up, and spun it short-draw. I mean, really short-draw.
It took me almost a month to spin up all 5oz into singles (granted, I don't spin ever day, or even a very long time when I do get a chance to spin). Laceweight, naturally. It was a very cranky fiber to work with- too much twist made it go snap, too little twist made it fall apart into infuriating little heaps of under-spun fluff.
I think because of the time I spent on this, I expected to be surprised with an overwhelming amount of yardage. Thousands and thousands of beautiful buffalo yarn! Fantasies of making multiple huge complicated lace shawls danced through my head. I'd make one for everyone I know!
Alas, no multiples for me. In the end, when I plied, I got 428 yards. A lace cowl, perhaps? (Ahem, or in this case, a cow-l.)
But I love the yarn just the same. It's drapey and soft (almost but not quite cashmere soft) and despite all the breaks I had, it's much more even than I expected. Once I washed it to set the twist, it got a nice fuzzy bloom to it.
When I did give it a wash, I was surprised at how dirty it was. Bison really like to roll in the dirt, much like alpacas. I had to change the water three times to get all the fine grit out. Dirty buffalo.
Next up in my spinning queue: baby camel and silk blend, which I'm going to card together with some Polworth. I'll keep you posted on how this little experiment goes.