Herding skunks

Posted by caroline in Spinning on November 8th, 2011

waste4That’s what it looked like, ten little piles of skunk tails all lined up waiting for their turn on the carder. I decided to do a spot of tidying up and I pulled out the various bags of combing waste and dodgy fleece. waste1I hunted high and low for the other bag of white then I remembered that I’d dyed it and the bag of white waste I was looking for was now a bag of pink waste. There were two bags of Texel that were full of second cuts and skin flakes, the bag of Hebridean that had no sins other than being left over, a bit of North Ron that was of less than stellar quality and the combing waste from the Portland. I found a bit of grey something or other in the carding bit box and threw that in as well. The pile weighed 530g and had previously filled four carrier bags.

waste2This is the stage where it looks worse before it looks better, I made twelve piles of wool that had more or less the same amounts of the various fibres. I didn’t measure but divided each set of fibres up the best I could  by ripping them apart. If there had been a cat at the back window this could all have gone horribly wrong but the dog stayed safely in his basket snoozing in the sun. Twelve was a number I pulled from the air as being about the right number of batts to get from 532g of fibre and I was nearly right, as I ran each pile through the carder some of them looked a little thin and I ended up splitting two of the piles between the others. This threw the equality thing right out of the window as now some piles would have more black, others more white but not even I am that fussy. Well, actually sometimes I am, but not this time because I knew they’d be split up again at the next stage.

waste4After the first carding I had the little skunk tails at the top of the page. I split each batt into eight and made ten new heaps each heap having one piece from eight different batts. waste5After carding them again I’d had enough and decided that white streaks was going to  make a much more appealing yarn than I’d get from carding them further and getting a more uniform, plain grey. It’s not that I’m a slacker calling time after carding 500g of wool, I’d already carded 150g of pretty stuff before I even started on the bags of waste. They now fit comfortably in a single carrier bag and can sit there until I’ve worked out just how much of it I need to spin.

What can I make with four bags of grotty fibre? Hopefully a rug. I don’t want to spin it all now because I know that there will be more waste coming along.  I have the rest of the Portland to comb, two Ryelands to card and half a mule fleece to do something with, not to mention that Norfolk Horn that’s in the post. If I leave the surplus as fibre it can be carded in with the next few bags of fibre to make more chunky yarn in a lighter colour. The next stage is to work out how much chunky yardage I need for a smallish rug.


3 Responses to “Herding skunks”

  1. Cynthia says:

    Nice idea! I always toss my combing waste; imagine how much that has added up to over the years.

  2. Laura says:

    I think it’s going to make a nubby interesting yarn when you get it all spun up. I might not be soft… but it will be INTERESTING! :D

  3. Laurie says:

    Do you have a loom that will weave a rug? Wondering if the spinning will drive you bonkers.

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