Tag Archive: roving

Fiber Preparation

Beginner’s Series: Wool – Part 4

Batts, Slivers, Tops, Rovings, Clouds, what on earth do these all mean? How’s a spinner supposed to know what they want with all these choices? Thankfully, learning what each of these styles gives you (and how to spin from them) is not as hard as it looks.



This is my personal favorite to spin from. It’s so nice and smooth, and spins easily. Roving can be spun short or long draw. It’s kind of your basic format. The individual fibers are laying straight, side by side with each other, which allows you to spin a very smooth yarn.


This looks like roving, but the fibers aren’t aligned quite as nicely, giving you a little lumpier yarn.


This looks like top and roving, but the fibers are a little different.

Can We Hurry Up and Get to Autumn?

The weather here has been nice, but I am looking forward to the air turning chilly. The more hats and scarves I can wear this fall the better! (And socks and sweaters, of course.) (And cardigans.) (And maybe gloves.) Ahem. Anyway, I got to spend yesterday evening dyeing some new, fall-themed yarns and fibers!

Corriedale Cross Fiber

Beech Leaf - Corriedale Cross Fiber

It’s been so long since I’ve dyed anything. I really enjoyed this stint in the kitchen. In fact, I had only planned to do one, possibly two projects — but, true to form, I wound up doing four. Thankfully I was able to do them without feeling pressured to hurry things up and get out of the way. Going so long without dyeing made everything seem new and interesting once I started again. Of course, it also meant that I was way out of practice. Nothing irreparable, though!

Hobo Toes

Look! Look at that. I almost have the entire foot covered in stripy material. Whoo-hoo!


I took it along to work, and the best part was a small friend’s conversation with me while babysitting.

Sam: “Why does that have so many needles?”
Me: “That’s just the way they need to be to help me knit this sock.”
Sam: “Whoa, that’s a sock?”
Me: “Yes. Wait just a minute
(the row needed to be finished) and I’ll show you.”
*time lapse while row is finished and sock wriggled on*
Sam: “Whoaaaaa, that’s cool. If I’d known you made socks I’d have had a pair by now.”

(I don’t know what he was implying by that statement. Just because I made that red scarf for him earlier.)

Anyway, it’s currently giving a great impression of a hobo’s sock, and if I can just figure out where the pattern went I can finish it up and knit the second one. It’s been long enough since I started the first one that I’m not worried about the second being the same old same old. Definitely a bonus.

Fleeced Out

The week of fleece washing didn’t accomplish as much as I was hoping, but I did get a pretty sizeable pile of fleece washed. And while there is still a whole garbage bag full of dirty fleece, I think this will keep me busy for a while.


I actually got a pretty fair amount of this carded, but the carded got used in another project before I took any pictures of it and is now hanging out to dry. I did decide to break out of my usual “rolag” carding method and turn the carded fluff into these nice little balls of homemade roving. Not quite as smooth and buttery as store bought, but it’s fun to use and spins nicely.


The pink and purple are from cochineal dyed fleece. Yes, I still have that fleece laying around. Two nice chunks of it.

So You Want To Spin?

Beginner’s Info: Part 1

So you want to learn to spin? Good for you. You’re about to be initiated into the wonderful craft of spinning. Or, to turn it into its most basic process, the art of taking a handful of something and making into gorgeous yarns.

If you’re interested in spinning, chances are you’ve at least seen a spinning wheel before. Maybe you watched someone at a Living History demonstration, or perhaps you have a friend who keeps babbling on about their wonderful wheel, or maybe (like me) you picked up a magazine and got sucked into a world of color and texture. However you developed the interest you want to get started. So now is the time for me to stop telling you how much fun you’ll have and give you some hard facts.

What is spinning?

Spinning is putting twist into something to make it form a new, stronger shape. You can spin with three blades of grass and your fingers. You can spin with long strips of fabric and a heavy rock. You can spin with your hair and a messed up curler. But none of these are the cool ways to do it.

If you want to begin spinning, you’re going to need three things. Something to spin into yarn, something with which to spin that thing into yarn, and something to tell you how to do it.

Silk And Fleece

Okay, so I decided that I didn’t want to spend my last few days at home working away at the flax. The question was what should I spin instead. I finally settled on the silk hankie, which I planned to pair with the fall fleece. dscn8842
I must say, it’s a lot more fun than flax. Just very clingy. I thought silk roving was bad, but this tops it. It’s like when you’re hot gluing something, and you get one of those long strings of ultra thin stuff. Only there’s a lot more of them.

Setting that aside, I’m really enjoying the spinning process, and look at the gorgeous shine and color I’m getting! I am now skulking about on the internet, trying to find inexpensive silk hankies for dyeing.

The Results Are In

Fall-Dyed Fleece

Fall-Dyed Fleece

The fall-colored fleece has scored pretty high on my “favorite self-dyed fluff” list. The camera turned the red a little magenta-y, but it’s pretty true. I can hardly wait to start carding it! Hurry up and dry!

I’m thinking I will separate the colors when I card it to try to maintain relatively clear color shifts. In fact, I may play around with how I put the fiber on the carders. I’m almost wishing I had dyed more fleece when I did, although I only dyed one of the silk hankies—and in order to keep the right silk-to-wool ratio, I had to use just twice as much wool as silk. Which meant two ounces of wool. So, come to think of it, I bet I did way more anyway. Dyeing both hankies would have been the simplest route to take, but I didn’t want to risk ruining both hankies if something went wrong.

Cochineal: Part 3

I tell you, this pot of dye was like the Energizer Bunny! It just kept going and going and going!

The first batch of wool came out a sort of mauve color. And the bag seemed to have worked!

Darker Fleece

Darker Fleece

Then I popped in a second batch to see if I could get a lighter shade for two-tone purposes.

Still Spinning Away

Norwegian is finished! All thirteen ounces of it spun up into six nice skeins. Don’t ask me about the yardage; I don’t know. This yarn is destined for Kool-Aid dyeing (assuming nothing goes wrong), and hopefully it will find a happy home.

It is now sitting on the drying rack, along with as many other yarns as I could fit. The New Year’s Dash worked great, but I wound up with tons of yarn to set the twist in.

And I’ve started on the merino roving. I’m spinning it into a two-ply sport weight, which I will dye a deep shade of red (using cochineal!) and then crochet into a sweater type thing.

Thin Merino

Thin Merino

Bubblegum and Bunnies

No, this is not a horror story involving Angora rabbits and sticky candy. This is the next-to-final project on my New Year’s Dash list.

This is the Bunny Yarn.