Friday, November 18, 2011

Fiber ~ flicking

I know many people prefer carding fiber to prepare it to be made into yarn. To be honest, initially that was my plan. But when I found out I could flick the fiber instead of carding, I decided to try that first. A flicker is cheaper than carders, and it's quicker. But, it doesn't produce the smooth end result that carding does. This means I create worsted yarn, rather than woollen yarn. Although, reading this description, I think I do a combination of these two:

Handspinning Woollen and Worsted Yarn

Woollen and worsted yarn are two types of yarn that can be handspun. Both types require different fiber preparation on spinning techniques.

Woollen Yarn
Woollen yarn is spun using a short staple fiber that is prepared by handcarding and rolled into rolags. A drumcarder can also be used. When spinning the fiber the long draw or medium draw technique is used to allow the fiber to wrap upon itself while trapping air in the center. This makes the yarn soft and bouncy. This yarn is best used for garments that will not be subjected to harsh wear, such as light weight knits. It can also be used for garments that will later go through a fulling process, such as blankets, coats, and jackets. Fulling is a process that contracts the yarn in a knitted garment and makes the fabric stronger.

Worsted Yarn
Worsted yarn is spun using a long staple fiber that is prepared by combing with dutch combs or a flicker carder, to keep the fibers parallel, and to remove the shorter ones. When spinning, the worsted technique is used, in which, the fiber is first drafted and then twisted using the thumb and forefinger to flatten the loose fibers. This makes a stronger yarn that can be used for hard wearing garments, rugs, blankets, and warp for weaving.

The focus of flicking or carding is to take a bundle of fiber, and separate it so that it can be spun into yarn. A bundle intact would make for lumpy yarn. It's the separated fibers that mix together that makes a strand of yarn. If the bundle remains together, it wouldn't mix and there would be lumps and bumps and tender spots between bundles in the yarn.

Here is my bag of unflicked fiber from our herd sire, Greyt:

Here is my basket of flicked fiber:

This picture shows the contrast, first the flicked bundle, then the intact bundle:

It was impossible to take a picture of myself flicking the fiber (I only have so many hands), so here is the next best thing. I have the flicker in my hand, ready to flick. I put a bucket (the orange bucket) underneath where I am flicking because bits of hay and other debris does fall when I flick it:

Next weeks blog posts will be about spinning this skirted, weighed, tumbled and flicked fiber into yarn.

No comments:

Pin It button on image hover