Saturday, February 11, 2006

Yarn from Cheeses

I have mentioned several times to a number of people that I like using these cheeses or wheels of unspun rovings and spin them into my own yarn. In Canada, during the war when sheep wool was scarce, they used the undercoat from buffalo to make yarn. The name stayed, but now they are back to using wool from sheep. Many mills make these wheels; check around. They use these to spin the yarns. I find them in thrift shops quite often. The idea is to knit directly from these wheels-- because of the twisting that happens when you pull up a strand from the side of a wheel, it is enough to hold together. There are normally 6 strands wound around the wheel, and are quite bulky for those great fall sweaters we love!

The first thing to do is to separate those 6 strands. You can't just wind them off the end of the wheel, because they will twist. I rigged up a knitting needle through the sides of a cardboard box, so I can pull the strands off as the wheel rotates. It takes time, but eventually you get six neatly wound balls of singes!

I like to wind them around my thumb, remembering to keep the end sticking out so that I can use them as a centre-pull ball when spinning. That will give it some twist as it comes out of the ball, and then I only have to add a bit more.

There will be more pics of the spinning on another day!

1 comment:

Celtic Knitter said...

That's kind of wild. I've never seen that before.