Spinning log — January and February

I have been so bad about recording my craft projects in an organized way, so I will try to do that here. I’m particularly interested in seeing what my total production is at the end of the year!

January

January was mostly focused on spinning a huge amount of tricky fiber for a commission. I completed the second part of the commission mostly or all in January. There were two different colors — cream and brown. All of this was woolen spun. The fiber was difficult to draft from the batts that it came in, so I hand carded everything again and spun from rolags.

Cream: 132 g, 321 m

Brown: 339 g, 752 m

Total for January:

471 g, 1072 m

February

In February, I spun a variety of wools and preps. I got some exciting new tools in the mail: a pair of medieval-style wool combs from Medievalcraft that are based on a Polish archaeological find, a medieval-style spindle with a bone whorl and a bog oak shaft, and two gorgeous supported spindles from Christoph Holzwolly Nigg.

I had some very long wool from a sheep that apparently looked like an Estonian native sheep but is kind of an unknown. I combed a bit of it and ended up with 47g, 150 m of shiny grey yarn. I had a lot of fun experimenting with different combing oils for this yarn. Weirdly, the best one turned out to be goose fat with a bit of pine oil worked into it to dissuade the dog!

To try out the new spindles, I used some gorgeous rolags made by Iris Eenmäe on her blending board. We called them “dragon scale” rolags for their gorgeous shades of dark green. The final yarn is 308 m, 80 g. I plied it on the spinning wheel. The spindles turned out to be fantastic, really fast and smooth spinners thanks to the hard resin tips. I hadn’t done a full project on supported spindles in years, so this got my technique back up to speed.

I have been working my way through a large amount of GORGEOUS grey Kihnu native sheep wool from Hallivilla. I hand carded some of it and spun rolags in the traditional Kihnu style on my Estonian spinning wheel. I ended up with two skeins totalling 118 g and 339 m, but I have a lot more left to spin!

At the very end of the month, I plowed through 193 g of Cheviot top from World of Wool (I held aside a tiny sample to give to Iris, so it isn’t an even 200). This yielded 430 m in three skeins. I spun it fast and dirty, point-of-twist style with fairly sloppy drafting for a bit of subtle texture.

I also plied a bobbin of Kihnu native sheep singles that had been sitting for at least a year. It was some of the last fiber I had from Vii, an ewe owned by Kristi Kauponen. Astri helped me to process this fleece at the Vilma wool mill on the campus of Viljandi Culture Academy. I came up with 98g and 219 m of a fairly dense yarn.

From left to right: 3 skeins of cheviot, Vii (Kihnu native sheep), and Hallivilla (Kihnu native sheep), all fresh from the bath

Totals for February 2021:

1446 m, 536 g

Running total for 2021:

2500 m, 1007 g

Accomplishments: practiced with supported spindles, tried new combs, experimented with combing oils, first time using blending board rolags, more practice with Kihnu carding and spinning techniques

Other woolly endeavors

I did some sampling, wool washing, and a ton of research these past two months. First, I spun the merino silk blend sample that came with the new spindles.

Then I washed some gorgeous Kihnu wool from Made Uus.

And finally, so much research! There’s a lot I haven’t shared yet, but the big thing is that the Estonian National Museum digitized a ton of photos for me that were not previously available. I am still working on the Estonian spinning wheel database, and I’m currently in the process of uploading the new ERM images. I also have been scouring the internet for other applicable Estonian spinning images, like this one of Valborg Espling on Väike-Pakri island from finna.fi.

I’m very excited about March. I will finish up writing the Pakri spinning wheel article, and I have a lot more Kihnu wool to spin. Hopefully, I’ll also come out of it with some knitted socks! In the meantime, the best way to see what I’m doing as I do it is on Instagram @hoodedcrowcrafts for craft photos or @wellwoventales for historical images.

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