After the slightly embarassing Mohair mishap... I decided to go ahead with my original plan #2 for Tour de Fleece and do some Blending and Drum Carding!
I have been collecting fibery things for over a year now, and one thing that always seems to get me all excited is trying new fibers. I have a small stash of many different types of fibers: silk hankies, soy silk, tussah silk, angora rabbit (in various shades), Merino top, Polwarth top, Dark Chocolate Merino, Chocolate Raw Alpaca, Nylon for Sock Yarn, Mohair (uggggg), Chiengora (from the family pets)....
So I figured that a blending experiment might be fun? Since I already had lots of goodies kicking around? (Does it ever feel like your stash is calling your name?)
The Raw Ingredients:
I didn't really weigh or measure anything... I just started tearing and picking until I had a decent sized handful. The goal here was to get more comfy with Blending things on my Strauch Petite... not to card enough wool to spin a sweater. For a lot of other people the TdF is a chance to try new things and learn, so I figure I should take advantage of that too!
I know that in a lot of commercial yarns that the angora content is not super high... usually somewhere around 10 - 25 % so I tried to use a fairly small proportion of that. The Bamboo was so shiny and smooth, I used a little more of that than angora. I had purchased the Soy Silk originally to try making laceweight on a drop spindle... thinking that it was long and strong fibers like actual silk. When I realized that this particular Soy Silk only had a staple length of 2 inches max, and was slippery as heck, I decided against the original plan and put it away for a rainy day... ta - daa Rainy day. The Merino? think of it as super soft "glue" that holds the other fibers together.
Most of the references I've read suggest to use fibers of similar staple length when you blend fibers together. In this case, the angora, merino and bamboo were all similar in staple length, and the soy silk was short... but I threw her in anyways! I thought it might add some gold sparkle / shine to the mix so I just went with it.
I layered all the fibers onto the drum (instead of feeding it in) in an alternating pattern with Merino first, last, and in between the layers of the luxury fibers. Aka merino, angora, merino, soy silk, merino, bamboo, merino...
To blend a little further (without allowing the separate "ribbons" of fiber disappear into each other) I ran it through the carder one more time... and then rolled and admired.
I really wish the camera could show you all of the subtle little ribbons of bamboo and soy silk... they gleam in the light. Unfortunately it was dark already here... these pics were taken under my Ott Light. The angora lent it's baby bunny softness too :) It's quite obvious touching the batt that there is angora in there!
I finally figured out how to fold batts into those beautiful "snail shell" configurations you see on all the pro fiber sites. The shape is actually kind of fitting in this case... the bamboo shine and softness of the merino looks a bit like the inside of a shell coated with mother of pearl.
All Spun! I tried to spin this with very little twist with hopes of lofty and soft yarn. I think I would like to ply this with something thread like, but I don't want to use standard sewing thread. I am thinking maybe a skinny bamboo single? the shine would contrast the blended single I think. Will sleep on it for now, since I won't be able to spin untill tomorrow after work anyways. I also have silk hankies, so they would also be a possibility for the second ply....