Friday, 21 January 2011

Spinning: Now with bits of Bactrian Camel!

I once spun and wove up a scarf made out of baby camel fiber.

2009 055

The purple/yellow was a merino silk blend, but the camel colored yarn all came from a baby camel. Weaving doesn't bias if your yarn is out of sorts with balance, so you can use singles without worry.


It's fantastic to work with. Camels are double-coated, and this is the finest downy undercoat. It's like cashmere. The outer coat is terribly scratchy and rough, and much more hair-like. The undercoat is just buttery soft and wonderful to spin.

Here it is, blended with silk.

Woolie things

I had some of this tucked away in my stash that was leftover from my scarf project. Lucky me, my December AVFKW club also contained a bundle of camel silk blend, along with some dyed Polworth.

dec 2010 014

The color is "Rosemary". I took the opportunity to use up as much stash as possible in one hit and blended my existing 2 oz of Camel/silk with the club fiber.

New Year 2011 464

I spun it up into an Aran-weight 3-ply. It's lovely- very slinky and drapey. I'm hoping the bit of Polworth gives it at least a little memory when knitted up.

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The color is very subtle. It's overwhelmingly camel-colored, with just a hint of the purples and greens in the dyed bit of fiber.

Oh, and the static really killed me here. Every time I sat down to spin, I would get covered from head to toe with staticky bits of camel down. It clung to everything, and then after it came out of the wash I had bits of camel felt netted into my clothes. I really recommend spinning these downy fibers when the radiator has been turned off and the humidity is higher. It tames it and makes the whole process much more pleasant.

I keep a spray bottle with a mix of water, vodka (the cheapest stuff is just fine) and a few drops of essential oils (I'm a fan of a blend of lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree oil). I spray down the fiber before touching it- not to soak it but it does help with the flyaways. I also use this as my all-purpose "Smell Better" spray- yoga mats, shoes, linens- whatever has a bit of a funky odor, this will take care of it without overly perfuming.

New Year 2011 461

I ended up with about 120 yards Aran weight from 4 oz of fiber. Not the best yardage, but enough to make an awesome warm hat.

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