Tag Archives: handspun

a goat from Pamir mountains

one day i went to the post-office and fetched a package that looked like this:


This is how posted parcels looked like in f. Soviet Union when I was little – you were supposed to sew it all in a white cloth with white thread and postal lady would seal it with brown pitch stamps. And they still look like that in Tajikistan. Because this parcel is from my former gene bank colleague from Dushanbe! I worked there on the Tajik gene bank development project three years ago. Together with the most hospitable, generous and kind people in the world.

And now they send me 2 kg of local goat fiber! (they kept asking me what I want and I said that little piece of some local wool would be perfect)


It is softest and fluffiest kid mohair. First I quickly ran it on a drum carder and then comb with my mini-combs


First portion of the yarn

Heavy, smooth and silky stuff.
I am thinking of a large woven  throw-plaid sort of a thing (I would need three times more yarn) , we’ll see.

wool distraction

I am back  from my self-proclaimed and self-indulgent summer holiday. I have spent it mostly sitting in the garden and carding and spinning wool.

handspun yarns

Last autumn my father-in-law left two huge sacks of wool in our garage.
Unsorted, unwashed, from unknown breed, full of straw and dirt,  “just wool”.

I’ve decided to have a look at it (and may be try to sort it) mostly because those sacks take space in the garage, I thought I don’t have time to process it.

All the possible colors and fiber qualities.


I have never tried to sort wool before, after throwing away 2/3 of it I still have 10 kg left, at least, may be more.

washing wool

Since it ‘s been exceptionally warm and dry weather I have been washing the wool outside in the garden – soaking in cold water for a few hours and then drying on a net.
drying wool

I liked this kind of washing (contra – warm water with detergent) because while all the dirt and dust is removed – the lanolin remains, staples remain almost intact, which makes it very easy to spin.


Carding and spinning in the garden  is so much more convinient than in the house –

all the debris is left outside.  (I am very happy with my Strauch drum carder).


I wanted  just to try to spin one color, but ended up spinning for many days – talk about easily distracted.

First I thought I could use the yarn for weaving blankets in all those beautiful natural colors, but now I realise that most of the fleece is double-coated – mixture of both fine wool and coarse hair , “peasant” sort of wool,  which in the end makes it more suitable for carpet-weaving.

But I still like the colors, here are some:
handspun yarns

Ah, may be it will become a carpet one day – rölakan-style little carpet….(I have spun only one kilo, I think I would need at a couple of kilos more) . We’ll see.

Well, it’s been a real summer wool-camp for me :) Now the summer weather is (totally) over here and I am back to my weaving loom.

goose eye and other experiments

I decided to try a  point-draft on the second half of my linen  warp and I managed to thread it without mistakes, but it took me a while to get the treadling pattern right continuously – I found counting out loud to 22 works best for me :)   It’s a goose eye (gåsöga) all the way, (with some short-attention-span misses)

I printed out picture with the pattern from Jean’s wonderful blog (that’s how I got inspired to try this pattern on the first place) and had pinned it on my loom.

While thinking what to do with it and what to weave next,  knitted a pair of socks for my sister-in-law, her choice of color – Ticiano red.

pattern: Basic Ribbed Socks , yarn Malabrigo sock.

almost finished knitting my handspun cardigan:

And in between of all that have been trying to spin Suri alpaca from Österlen (Christmas present from my man)

The fleece and fiber sourcebook recommends to spin it worsted, so I am trying to comb it (and I never combed any wool before)

it get’s extremely static and flies all over the place  (needs constant spraying with anti-static)

Combing separates it in two fractions  – white long-lustrous-silky roving  and greyish-cream unstructured fluff.

(I don’t know if it’s the best way to process this sort of alpaca, the amount of  information I could find on the net is not overwhelming, to put it softly. And I don’t know if the combs I bought are so good and suited for just this type of fiber).

Anyway, I tried spinning the combed stuff  – once you get hold on it (quite slippery) and remember to spin it with high twist,  it results in compact but soft and silky thread.


Here is good video on combing and spinning alpaca  and here is another video on combing wool.

winter knitting

Gathered all  winter knitting in one posting.

Central Park hoodie for my daughter, yarn: Cascade Heathers

8-sqare slippers, used most of my first spinning scraps

wurm hat, yarn : Malabrigo worsted

classic mittens made with my homespun Gotland wool, 3 ply

And some presents for people:

Henry the Knitted Bear

Mittens, yarn -Rowan felted tweed

knee high socks, handspun wool mix, 3 ply, together with 1 strand Zauberball

carding and spinning

Here are the people, who introduced me to the world of wool and spinning wheels, Inger and Bengt from Den Gamla Skolan (wetplate collodion portrait is taken by my man). I spent two weekends with them – learning about different wool sorts, washing, carding and spinning wool, chatting about everything in the world, eating good food,  well, just having really good time.

In the end, happy, content and inspired  I went home with my own Kromsky Minstrel spinning wheel, hand carders, a niddy noddy and couple of bags of sorted unwashed wool.

This is the wool from one of the bags (managed to wash it) – 300g of platinum white silky shiny soft curls from a leicester-like cross breed sheep.

and I have been carding and spinning it for a while now.

what a feeling! I just love the whole process, it’s  an existential experience, as Handarbetaren put it. I realise – you can’t make any shortcuts, slow craft is not a concept, it is just way to do things, the real way. One soft silky curl at a time. .

Late evening picture, my wool-loving colleague shows her appreciation.

socks with a character

It’s been two month since I’ve started spinning wool. First with a spindle and then on a spinning wheel. And I think I am getting better at it (it is not an ultimate goal -to produce perfect yarn,   because the process of spinning…well, I can’t describe it, it is certainly addictive and you have to try it yourself)

Anyway, these are the socks I’ve knitted using my first ever hand-made yarn ( spun on a very simple spindle).  It’s Gotland sheep wool (from Gamledags), silvery and silky, and the yarn is 2-ply as uneven as it could go. (But mostly just thick).  The white parts are handspun yarn as well.

The warmest socks I ever had and totally off-season, and after knitting these most industrial yarns feel…way too well-tempered and kind of anonymous .

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