Sunday, June 30, 2013

Estes Park Wool Market: Part 2

When there's a part 1 there has to be at least a part 2. So here is the part 2 of our Estes Park Wool Market trip.

In addition to the 2 ounces of buffalo/silk (pictured in part 1) I got 4 of these half ounce containers of cashmere (2 ounces total).


A new Russian Spindle now filling up with a half ounce of Paco Vicuña from Switzer-Land Farm.


A new plying spindle now loaded with the buffalo/silk and 60/2 silk thread ready for plying. I having a little trouble getting used to it since it's bigger and heavier.


It doesn't seem like much, but all that is a bit expensive. However, knowing that the small quantities of fiber I got will go REALLY far on a Russian spindle. I'll get about 250-400 yards (plying it with silk) out of half an ounce. I got the spindles and Cashmere from Galina Khmeleva at Skaska Designs. She is the one who taught me how to use a Russian Spindle.

I'd like to take a moment and talk a little about Russian spindles.

1. Try it before you buy it. You don't have to know how to use one, just set it spinning in a support cup and let it twirl in the cup of your finger. It should NOT wobble and it should go and go and go. If not, try another one. I don't recommend buying sight unseen on line because of this unless you can convince them to let you try it and send it back if it doesn't work.

2. If you end up with one that wobbles, you can use it as a plying spindle. That's what I have done with the first one I bought before I knew better. It works great for that although it's a little small when you double up what you've spun with the silk. However, if purchasing a plying spindle, put it through the same test that you do for the spinning spindles and get the best one you can find.

3. You do not have to ply with silk. However it is a great idea for several reasons. First, it's cheaper than plying with the same fiber. When you are paying $18-$50 per ounce you want to get as much out of your money as possible. Second, it adds strength and durability to your yarn. The softer, expensive fibers will wear out fast and the silk helps that not to happen as quickly. Third, silk adds a wonderful sheen to your yarn as well as softening the natural colors. Of course you can use dyed silk and I'm presently working on that idea.

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