Tag Archives: spinning

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.

their own stripes

my first cardigan  made from scratch. A year ago I bought 0,5 kg unwashed Gotland lambswool for 50 Kr (5 Euro).

Hand-carding the wool was the most time and labour consuming part.

I don’t know where the stripes are coming from, they are just there !(after all mixing the wool while washing, carding AND plying). Because the wool is so silvery-shiny you don’t see them while spinning.  First when I noticed them coming I thought “oh-oh…” but now this is just… randomly striped cardigan

Very warm and the most ecological sweater I own. (The pattern is Tilda


grey matter

carding, spinning, knitting, weaving. All in grey.

Gotland lambswool

cat mat №2, same but different, this time in 2/2 twill


Went to see demo on flax preparation (breaking, scutching and heckling) and  spinning the fibers, by nice ladies from the local flax society Skånelin . Never seen the process before, here they even let me try it for myself.  It’s all pretty straightforward (some physical strenth is definitely needed while breaking the plant straws)  and  the end result contains max 30% of the initial plant material.

they kindly gave me some fiber to try to spin at home, which i did:

It seemed not very difficult at all to spin flax. I don’t know if i spun it right, the fibers are much coarser than wool, so you have to keep wetting your fingers, and I did tried to spin it as “worsted” as I could, still my linen “yarn” came out very fluffy (though thin and very strong).

And now I am weaving a little piece of “cloth” on my primitive micro-loom

(a bookmark size cloth, very wabi-sabi object, hmm)

sadly,  in Sweden today flax growing  exists only in a form of cultural-historical activity, supported by few little enthusiasts-societies,  like Skånelin. Members grow flax in their own gardens, gather to rettle and process the fibers and travel across the country showing people the craft of making linen yarn. Next spring I might sow some flax seeds in our garden :)

P.S. 366 accessions of Linum usitatissimum in NordGen (Nordic genebank).

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.

scandinavian midsummer socks

made with handspun wool

(not the warmest summer ever, to put it softly).

really well-writen, universal and basic sock pattern-tutorial. Socks for the people.

spinning wheel(s)

For the last few days I have mostly been digging the garden, sowing veg seeds and replanting tomatoes in the greenhouse, but here are some pictures of an old spinning wheel, that comes from Småland, from my man’s grandmother. The kind of wheel, which was used for spinning flax, it is way too speedy for wool, but I have tried it and it worked and it was fun (if I haven’t tried a modern spinning wheel a couple of days before, I would probably think that it is just the normal the way to do it, a bit stressful, but you get quite a few meters of yarn per minute :)

and for the comparison – the old wheel and the new Minstrel from Kromsky.

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