Saturday, March 3, 2012

Handspun Baby Camel

I did a little spinning yesterday, so I thought I'd play show and tell.  I spun up an ounce of baby camel top into this 2ply yarn.  It was my first time spinning camel and I have to say I enjoyed it.  

Baby camel top is very soft and the fibers are short.  The staple length is right around an inch.  When I first sat down to spin, I began by drafting from the prepared top, but it was hard to manage.  The short, perfectly combed fibers wanted to slip off rather than be drafted in any sort of controlled way.  I feared that not only would my yarn be less even than I desired, but also a little weak with all the fibers so uniform.  

I know a lot of spinners have a very low opinion of commercial top.  I've read more than one blog whose author is passionately opposed to ever touching the stuff.  I'm not quite that hardcore and as a willful woman, I care less about what the accepted wisdom may be and more about the joy of discovery.  I say this not to delight in my own stubborn nature, rather I want you to know that my methods are just my own and I don't claim expertise.

My solution to my drafting situation was to pull off around three inches of the top at a time.  I bent the fibers in half over my index finger and I began drawing the fibers from the bend.  I have spun this way in the past when working with locks and by treating my camel top the same way, I gained all sorts of control.  The next time I sectioned off a piece of top, instead of just folding it in half, I gently rolled it into a rolag of sorts and then drew from the core.  That was even more of an improvement.  

With my new found technique, the top spun very quickly and I was sad when I had exhausted the ounce.  There is evidence in this short skein of my rocky beginning, but I don't mind.  It represents my learning process and I already have plans for this yarn.  I'm designing ornaments this year (I call it my 2012 Ornament Project) and I'm making them all out of natural handspun yarn.  I've been thinking of designs in which I want a second color, but still all natural fiber.  I think this camel will look very pretty with my Merino and Tunis yarns. 

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