carding wool · handspun · process · spinning · yarn

CraftyJAKS: May 2019 // Charollais

May has been a busy month so I decided to break down the gradient batt that Katrina prepared this month and spin the Charollais fibre end-to-end, with a little pre-drafting for smooth spinning, while working my way across the batt systematically.

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I have never had the pleasure of spinning Charollais before, although I have spun many fine, springy wools like one but not quite with the Downy quality that this fibre seemed to have. Firstly, while Charollais is classified as a medium wool, at roughly 56-60 microns, I find it incredibly hard to believe that this particular fibre is that high in micron count. It is incredibly soft and sproingy, with a down-like quality not unlike our Breed & Colour Study Dorset that we are studying at the moment.

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From the batt, it immediately sprung open when I untied the ribbon. The colours moved across the fibre from a lovely sea-foam green to a tawny, coral colour. I just loved spinning these colours. The colours changed often enough to make the spinning interesting from a colour perspective but I was able to settle into a lovely rhythm of just short backward draft that sometimes became a bit more like long draw. It was just a steady rhythm of spinning.

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The problem came when I was ready to ply. Torn, I asked Chat on one of the recent Live Streams what they thought I should do: Chain-ply or leave as singles. Unfortunately, I had planned to leave the yarn as singles, I would have spun slightly thicker but then I thought, I bet this is going to ‘poof’ up a whole knitting weight. Sure enough: That’s exactly what it did and Chat had encouraged me to leave it as singles so I did.

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Rather than leaving the yarn to soak in a warm bath of water with no further finishing, I decided to full the yarn this time round. I filled both sink basins – one with hot and the other with cold water. I added a small amount of Eucalan to the hot water and proceeded to move the skein from one sink to the other, finally leaving the skein the hot water for about 15 minutes. From there, I snapped the yarn around the radius of the skein and hung it to dry. The results do not disappoint!

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