I started the Tour de Fleece late last night while watching The Simpsons and Men in Black. I spun some of mt old familiar wool, then took the whole flyer off and replaced it with my fast flyer (ratios 12,15,17:1). I also have a very fast flyer and head (26, 30, 36, 44:1), but chose to go with the fast one, which I’ve only used once.
I’m using the fast flyer right now because I’m aiming for a very lightweight, fine silk thread. Of course, to get there, I’m finding myself practicing at the very comfortable thickness I use for wool, which ends up being about 11 wpi plied, which is extremely thick for silk.
I am currently practicing with the less expensive soy silk. Getting the silk fiber onto the new bobbin, especially since the bobbin didn’t already have a piece of yarn attached to it, was a pain last night. See, for those new to spinning, there’s a chicken-and-egg problem when you start spinning a new project. An empty bobbin or drop spindle lacks anything to attach the fiber to. If the fiber isn’t attached to something, it will spin without turning into yarn. So, you have to attach it to something. A piece of old yarn will do for this. I tried using some of the wool I’d been spinning, but it wouldn’t hold the silk (too slippery?) The cotton thread I tried next didn’t hold until the third try. Very odd.
Anyway, I’ll post pictures when there’s anything worth posting. Right now, if you can imagine about as much silk thread as it would take to tie a shoe, then you have some idea of how my spinning is going.
Today is Day 1 of the Tour de Fleece, which I’m participating in from July 1 through 23. My challenge for this was pretty simple: spin silk for the first time. However, I’ve decided to be very deliberate about it. For instance, I recently read a slim volume published in the 1930’s about raising silkworms in California and the possibilities of a budding American silk industry. I decided I should learn more about silk in general while learning how and practicing spinning it.