Spinning Plans for Clementine

Spinning: Clementine Prep

dyed locks from Clementine

It's funny–or maybe ironic, but I honestly always feel like Alanis Morissette's Ironic, where everything is said to be ironic but actually isn't–that what brought me back to my blog is the very thing I last posted about in November.

In my last post, I showed the locks from Clementine, a BFL + Romney + Finn cross. They were creamy and gorgeous and so lovely in my hand. I remember hemming and hawing over whether I should dye them or not, but I went ahead and jumped in on the idea of dyeing them. The result is what you see above. That is, of course, only a portion of what was dyed. There were some locks that were a bit muddier in color, where greens and oranges touched and blended a bit rust-colored, but every bit of what was dyed came out gorgeous to me.

Soon after they dried, I started flipping open and hand carding the locks. I could have tried my hand at spinning the locks as they were, but that seemed more than a bit overwhelming. Flicking and hand carding was more tedious, since it requires a lot of preparation, but that didn't phase me at the time.

At. The. Time.

Now we're almost a year later and I didn't get any further than the 3-4 ounces I mentioned in November. I decided to bring the bag of fiber downstairs to where my Heavenly Handspinning e-spinner lives, and try my hand at spinning the carded fiber. I could feel that it still had a bit of lanolin, but that didn't bother me. What bothered me was that it was pretty neppy. I'd only hand carded the fiber once, so lots of shorter bits of fiber were sitting in the fiber and made me feel like it was leaning toward ugly. In walked my Louet Junior drum carder. It's a lot narrower than the old Kitty drum carder I had years ago, but it works well enough for my needs right now.

I decided to prep with a purpose this time. I wouldn't card and toss all the fiber into a bag or basket, then blindly reach in and spin whatever I grab; instead, I'd be mindful, have a plan, do the prep work, and then spin to achieve something specific. So, for the prep work, I split the blues and purples into one area, the greens, yellows, red-orange rusts, and lighter purples into a second area. I fed the first group into the carder, took it off, split it up into multiple pieces and fed it through the carder again. I repeated the same process for the second group.

Here's what that effort turned into:

Clementine mini batts

Let me just interrupt this story time to say, WOW. There was a lot of hidden dust and vegetable matter hiding in the fiber that I couldn't see by just rummaging through the opened fiber.

Here's what I'm thinking about spinning the Clementine fiber:

  • Spin each mini batt, end to end, changing color each time I reach the end of one batt (I think of them as cubs, since they're not full grown/sized)
  • I want to spin it how it wants to spin, not try to overly control it too much because then I get stiffness in my shoulders and I don't reach that relaxed state that spinning sometimes puts me in
  • When the first four mini batts are complete, take a break to prep the remaining locks (flick open, hand card, run through drum carder a couple of times)
  • Create a 2-ply, matching the colors as much as possible so that there's some striping

I'm not 100% going all-in on the above idea, but it's what I've got right now. Green and purple are A++, so it's not like I'd ruin it all. With any luck, and I'm making no promises here, I'll have it all completed before this November.

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