I am very new to spinning my own yarn and I was probably pretty stupid and skipped right over getting batting or roving and decided to start with raw fiber (aka, hair/fur/angora/mohair) fresh from an alpaca. True, it was what was available to me, since my parents and I are friends with some wonderfully generous people who own alpacas. However, that meant I had to learn 100 new skills at once before even getting the raw fiber ready to spin, instead of just learning the 100 skills needed to spin.
In my post on Monday I talked about going to Fiber Fest this weekend and the wonderful goodies I brought home. One of them was a bag of 100% wool batting in six rainbow-tastic colors. I had a desire to spin but didn't want to go through all the steps needed to process what I have left of the alpaca or the new fiber I had just bought. I really couldn't help myself from getting started as soon as Bonnie and I got back home. I had to process the batting a bit to get it ready to spin.
At left above you can see the batting exactly as it looked when I brought it home. I pulled the batting into long pieces and rolled and pulled the fibers apart in a process called "drafting" until I had the long pieces that were ready to spin, called "roving". At the right you can see the long pieces of roving draped over the couch and the spindle I used with some already spun on it.
Now, that is as far as I had ever gotten before in terms of making yarn. But this time I decided to try plying the yarn, which involves taking two sections of yarn that has been spun (example on the top left) and spinning them together (example on the right). Of course I still had to make things more complicated for myself and decided that I wanted some overlap of the colors so that meant that I needed some red to ply with red and some to ply with orange and some orange to ply with orange and some orange to ply with yellow and so on.
I gave it a quick dunk in some hot water to set the twist and hung it up to dry. Overall I am pretty excited by how it looks. Its certainly not the most perfect yarn, but it looks like yarn and that is pretty awesome. A beginning knitter is super aware of the tension they are using when knitting something and eventually it becomes habit. I am hoping that if I keep up with spinning eventually it will just become a habit and I won't be so focused on every part of it.