Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh! I Get It!! (Probably Part I)

Most of this post is about spinning and fiber. But first, something completely different:

Random photo: why we call her 'Miss Fluffy Pants'

Now, back to our regular program:

Unfortunately I'm the sort of person who insists on reinventing the wheel.

And in this case I did it completely unnecessarily, because I'm sure that:

1. This must have been in one of the spinning books I skimmed through, and

2. If I had stopped to think about it for even one logical moment, I would have actually figured it out at Shepherd's Harvest, when I thought I was doing what everyone else was doing, and insisting that for some reason I was incapable of thinning/pulling a roving out without breaking it in multiple spots.

But I didn't stop to think, and I didn't read the right information, and I didn't figure it out until I had carded at least a couple pounds of fiber, and prepped roving for - let's see, I think that's at least 22 bobbins of singles that I've spun altogether in the past few weeks. And spun worsted yarn from the rovings, wondering why sometimes the same fiber seemed so much harder to draft evenly than it seemed at other times. All that time, all that wool, and I didn't figure it out. Because I'm brilliant like that.

But today it occured to me, as I was prepping a roving that the vendor had provided in two strips from the same roll (I needed a bit more than she measured out the first time). Same exact roving, but one length prepped/drafted out so smoothly and cooperatively... and the other broke in my hands immediately.

Roving pulled from 'stubborn' direction - ragged straight/concave separation

And the light suddenly dawned over my addled head... wool has scales, just like hair. All laying in the same direction, so that if you pull at them in the wrong direction, the scales all lock together, and if you pull them in the other direction, they slide along each other.

Roving pulled from the 'happy' direction - ends are tapered/pulled out towards center

Of course, this was me. So I used this sudden insight successfully in prepping my roving for spinning. And then neglected to use it when I started carding later in the day. Because of course if you card the wool in the right direction, everything goes smoothly, and if you card it in the wrong direction, it makes life difficult for you. Not terribly difficult - not difficult enough to knock you over the head with insight if you aren't really thinking too hard, for instance. Just difficult enough to be annoying.

So this is me, trying to warn the other frustrated folks who tend to reinvent the wheel - hey, try pulling in the other direction, okay?

1 comment:

mrspao said...

I'm exactly the same!