Category Archives: Fibers and Yarns

Where to find yarns and spinning fiber of different types.

Spin Flora – Rose Fibre

For my next Spin Flora not Fauna project, I thought I would spin a bit of rose top. Rose fibre is another one of the ‘new’ vegan handspinning fibres, made from roses. The rose fibre has been extracted from the natural waste of rose bushes and stems. The fibre has been stripped and processed to create a luxurious and soft handspinning spinning fibre, similar to silk.

Rose Fibre Top
Rose Fibre Top

Rose Top for spinning can now be purchased through my new website: SpinFlora.com

After spinning the Banana fibre, I found the rose to be quite similar, yet the rose top was a bit finer and the staple was shorter in length than the banana fibre. The rose fibres were about 18-20 cm in length, a bit longer than merino top.

Rose Fibre
Rose Fibre

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How To Spin a Fine Yarn
I wanted to try to spin this fibre a bit finer than I had done with the banana fibre – so I made a few adjustments to my spinning wheel. I replaced the rough brake band that originally came with the wheel, with a smoother and finer hemp yarn. Changing the brake band to a finer yarn, reduces the tension on the brake, as it slips around the bobbin. I removed the metal spring on the brake band with a short elastic band. This allows me to make finer and smoother adjustments to the brake tension.

In order to spin finer yarns, the tension on the brake needs to be reduced, to slow down the speed of the yarn takeup onto the bobbin. This gives your hands more time to draft a smaller amount of fibre during spinning, reducing the thickness of the yarn. There is also less friction placed on the fibres as they are being pulled towards the wheel, so less fibre is picked up by the spinning action of the wheel. By making these small adjustments to your wheel, you can significantly reduce the thickness of your handspun yarn, while keeping the speed of your treadling, and your hand drafting the same. You don’t need to spin faster than your normal spinning rate – let the wheel do the work for you.

Again, I spun the rose fibre using the smallest whorl on my wheel, 14:1. I slowly adjusted the tension on the brake to as slow a speed as I could, making small adjustments at a time, until I was happy with the thickness of the yarn that I was spinning. I wanted the plied yarn to be about a fingering weight.

2 Ply Rose Yarn
2 Ply Rose Yarn

If you wish to spin an even finer yarn, and you are not achieving it easily with the above adjustments, there are a few more things you can do.
If your bobbin has 2 sizes of whorls on it (such as on a Kromski wheel) turn the bobbin around and use the smaller one – normally I spin using the larger size. A smaller whorl size has less surface area, so the amount of tension that is put onto the bobbin will be less, so the drafting speed will slow down even more, allowing you to spin a finer yarn.

Lacing the yarn around the hooks on the flyer will also slow down the drafting speed of your bobbin. Wrap the yarn around the hooks on the other side of your flyer and back again to the side you normally spin on. Some flyer whorls have the second set of hooks on the same side of the flyer – this makes it easier to do the lacing. On this flyer, the other set of hooks is on the opposite side, so I have wrapped the yarn around the edge of the flyer and back again. I think I will add some additional hooks to the top side.
The photo shows black merino that has been laced around the arms of the flyer.

Lacing the Flyer
Lacing the Flyer

Rose fibre is very fine and quite slippery so it needs to be spun with a tight twist. The easiest way to tell if your yarn has enough twist, is to pull back about half a meter of the yarn from the bobbin, hold the length between both hands and give it a good tug. If it holds together, then the yarn is strong enough to be used as warp in weaving. If it pulls apart, then more twist is needed.

Using the smallest whorl size of my wheel (14:1) I used a worsted spinning method with a short forward draw, spinning from the top of the fibre bundle in my hand, and carefully drawing out a small amount of fibre at a time and not letting the twist get into the fibre bundle.
These finely spun viscose yarns are also best if you also ply them. Plying takes a bit of extra time, but it helps to create a stable and balanced yarn that will not stretch and pull apart.

Etsy
Look for rose spinning fibre in my SpinFlora Etsy Shop.

2 Ply Rose Fibre Yarn
330 m / 100 grams
14 TPI

Rose Yarn Spinning Sample
Rose Yarn Spinning Sample

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Yesterday’s Roses Natural Dye

I had a bit of rose fibre singles left after I had plied my 2 bobbins of singles together. Not being one to waste good handspun, I plied the leftovers with a single ply merino yarn.

I also had some yellow roses that had seen better days. I thought that I would experiment with a rose natural dyebath. Roses dyed with roses seemed like a good idea… I chopped up the roses, leaves and stems into a pot of water and heated the dyebath for a few hours. I then let the rose dyebath cool and sit overnight.

Yesterday's Roses
Yesterday’s Roses
Yesterday's Roses Dyebath
Yesterday’s Roses Dyebath

I put the small sample of the Rose/Merino fibre yarn I had spun into an Aluminum Acetate mordant solution overnight.
The next day I reheated the Yesterday’s Rose dyebath and added the pre-mordanted Rose/Merino handspun yarn. I let it simmer for about an hour in the dyebath, turned off the heat, and waited patiently until the next day.  Dyeing with plants is not to be rushed.

Rose Fibre Yarn dyed with Roses
Rose Fibre Yarn dyed with Roses

Madder Root Natural Dye Recipe
Put Madder Root chips (30 grams) into a mesh bag and let them soak overnight in water.
Heat up the dyebath and add pre-mordanted yarn 100 grams.
Simmer for 1 hour and then turn the dyebath off. Let cool and allow the yarn to sit overnight in the madder dyebath.

For this yarn, I used the left over Madder Root dye that I had made a few days ago, as there was still plenty of colour left in the dye bath. I reheated the dyebath and put the rose handspun into the bath. I let it cook for about an hour and then turned off the heat, leaving the yarn to soak in the dyebath overnight.

Handspun Rose Fibre Yarn
Handspun Rose Fibre Yarn

Aluminum Acetate Mordant
Aluminum Acetate 5% Solution
Dissolve Aluminum Acetate in hot water and add to dyepot. Add 100 gr yarn into the mordant pot and simmer on warm for an hour. Do not bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the yarn to sit in the mordant overnight.

I like to re-use my mordant baths rather than discarding them.
I had some Aluminum Acetate Mordant solution left over from my previous dyebath. I dissolved another 2 grams of Aluminum Acetate in hot water and added this to the mordant bath. I added some more water to the mordant solution and added the rose handspun to soak overnight (no heat).

Plant Dyed Rose Fibre Handspun
Plant Dyed Rose Fibre Handspun

More Spin Flora not Fauna

Spin Flora – Bamboo Top
Spin Flora – Banana

Buy Spin Flora fibres at SpinFlora.com

Handspinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft

Natural Dye Books

Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present by Jenny Dean (2014-06-10)
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

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ANTIQUE UNIQUE WORKING SPINNING WHEEL SIGNED

$149.99
End Date: Saturday Dec-14-2019 16:44:57 PST
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Ashford traveler spinning wheel single drive

$187.00 (2 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-24-2019 17:00:01 PST
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Charkha book style spinning wheel Vintage, Nice Condition!

$130.00
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 22:12:35 PST
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Kromski Polonaise Spinning Wheel: aa072310

I bought a new spinning wheel recently-

A Kromski Polonaise from Wingham Woolwork.
This is a Ferrari of spinning wheels.

Kromski polonaise wheel

In order to give this new wheel a true test of what it can do, I then went to London’s local weaving centre – located in North London – Handweavers Studio and Gallery where they have a sumptious selection of handspinning fibres.There I discovered milk protein fibre top. I had heard of it but had never had the opportunity to test it out. What fun!Innovative fibres such as milk casein and soya fibre were developed during the early 40’s as a substitute for wool, which was needed by the men on the front line. These virtually faded from existence as other synthetic yarns such as nylon were developed. Some of these fibres are now making a comeback as there is more emphasis on environmentally safe products and eco-friendly textiles.Milk casein fibre is made by separating the oils and fats from the protein. The curd is rinsed, dried and dissolved to form a ‘dope’ that is pushed through spinnerets into an acid bath that forms the fibre. The fibre goes through further salt and formaldehyde processing to soften and improve the quality.Because milk casein is a protein fiber it can be dyed with CIBA acid dyes.I did find the milk fibre very soft and silky to spin.

milk casein
 
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This spun up very quickly. I used the smallest whorl on my Kromski Polonaise wheel, using the 20:1 ratio. When using the smaller whorl on the Kromski wheel, don’t forget to turn the bobbin around so that you are using the smaller end of the bobbin

kromski

The Kromski Polonaise also has two adjustment screws on either side of the wheel. These can be turned to adjust the alignment of the wheel to the bobbin whorl. This needs to be adjusted whenever you change the whorl size.

spinning milk casein

I am going to leave this yarn as a single spun because I think it would be quite nice to use it as weft in a future silk scarf project.
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Handspinning

Spinning Wheel Pictures
How Your Spinning Wheel Spins
Angora Rabbits

Learn to Spin Workshops

Learn to Spin The workshop for the beginner hand spinner.
Learn to Use a Drum Carder How to use a drum carder to create new colours and Yarns.
Plied and Cabled Yarns How to spin plied and cabled yarns.
Simply Sumptuous Spinning A surprise selection of different fibres to spin.

Hand Spinning Books

Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning (Teach Yourself Visually Consumer)
The Complete Guide to Spinning Yarn: Techniques, Projects, and Recipes
Start Spinning: Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn

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ANTIQUE UNIQUE WORKING SPINNING WHEEL SIGNED

$149.99
End Date: Saturday Dec-14-2019 16:44:57 PST
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ashford traveler spinning wheel single drive

$187.00 (2 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-24-2019 17:00:01 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Charkha book style spinning wheel Vintage, Nice Condition!

$130.00
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 22:12:35 PST
Buy It Now for only: $130.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

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Mudchute Farm: aa052204

Mudchute Farmis located on the Isle of Dogs, in east London.

Mudchute Association is a registered charity formed to preserve the natural habitat of the area and to promote educational and leisure activities. I’ve had the delightful opportunity to work at Mudchute Farm, giving weaving and handspinning demonstrations.

There are also several other farms located in the city of London where you can escape to for a few hours and return to nature.

Hackney City Farm

Find out some interesting facts about pigs, sheep, chickens, geese and adopt an animal if you wish.

Freightliners City Farm
Country life on a working farm in Islington.

Kentish Town City Farm

Kentish Town City Farm is in Camden was the first of its kind to be established, providing an educational and recreational resource to the community.

Vauxhall City Farm

ProHelp London offers professional support to community groups in London, such as Vauxhall City Farm.

Newham City Farm

King George Avenue, London E16 3HR

Newham City Farm focuses on rare breeds and is part of the Farms for Teachersprogram.

Surrey Docks City Farm

The Surrey Docks Farm website isn’t up yet, but you can find an interesting read at Hilary Peters diaryof the beginnings of Surrey Docks farm.

Spitafields City Farm

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Lambs, Birds and Horses

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XXL Extra Large Weaving Loom Kit (89cm x 87cm) | Professional Tapestry Loom

$100.00
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Vintage Table Top Loom

$169.00
End Date: Wednesday Dec-18-2019 13:41:35 PST
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Kromski Rigid Heddle Loom 24 Inch

$325.00
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 6:40:13 PST
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Nettle Yarn

Function with Beauty
by John Dunsmore
http://resurgence.gn.apc.org/articles/dunsmore.htm
The fibre from the Nettle plant has been used as clothing in many cultures. In Nepal, the Himalayan giant nettle was processed and used for both fine clothing and for sailcloth. The fibre from the inner part of the plant was removed. The bark is stripped and can be used for basketry. To soften the fibre, the inner bark was simmered overnight in a solution of water and wood ash. The fibre is then beaten and rubbed with oil to make it easier to separate and tease for spinning. The fibre is dried in the sun and handspun with a hand spindle.
http://resurgence.gn.apc.org/articles/dunsmore.htm

Nettle Cultivation
An exploratory study was done by FAIR-CT98 to reintroduce the cultivation of stinging nettle Urtica Dioica. The nettles are planted on trial fields of 10 hectares and the fibres will be spun into yarn and woven into fabrics to determine different applications.

Grado Zero Espace is researching the use of nettle as an environmentally friendly alternative textile. Nettle yarn was used in WW1 and WW2 as a substitute for cotton yarns. Stinging nettle has a hollow core making it a natural insulation. For warmer winter garments the yarn is spun with less twist so the hollow fibre can remain open. For summer wear the fibres are more tightly twisted, reducing the insulation . Nettles were also used as a natural dye. The leaves produce a green and the roots were boiled with salt or alum to yield a yellow dye.

Barhka Textiles
Village women knit wild nettle yarn into scarves.

The Wild Swan
“Look at the nettle that I hold in my hand! Around the cave where you are sleeping grow many of them; only those nettles, or the ones found in churchyards may you use. You must pick them, even though they blister and burn your hands; then you must stamp on them with your bare feet until they become like flax. And from that you must twine thread with which to knit eleven shirts with long sleeves. If you cast one of these shirts over each of the eleven swans, the spell will be broken…”
Hans Christian Anderson

Spinning Nettles – You Tube

From Sting to Spin

Gillian Edom writes about the historic use of nettles.

Exotic Yarns
Salish Blankets
Wooly Dogs
Spider Silk
Ramie
Norse Yarn

Yarn Spinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)

Hand Spun: New Spins on Traditional Techniques

The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn

Dog Hair Spinning: aa030102

Handspun dog hair or chiengora. Did you know you can spin pet hair?

Wolf Tales, Wolf Yarn, How to turn wolf fur into wolf yarn

Subarctic Spinners

Kenai Peninsula Online clarifies that the dog fur ban doesn’t apply to to hair that is brushed or shed, only to the pelts of the animals.

Woolly Dogs

Custom Dog Hair Spinning
Have your pet’s hair hand-spun into a beautiful yarn, then made into a loving keepsake.

Chiengora Fibers

Hand spun Dog and Cat Fur

How to Wash Dog Hair before Spinning – You Tube

Handspinning Books

The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn
Everything you need to know from set-up to finished product in order to create distinctive yarns for use in knitting, weaving, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, and macrame.
UK: Whole Craft of Spinning

The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber
The vast world of sheep and their wool into the language and context of knitting.
UK: Knitters Book of Wool

..more Handspinning books

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Craft Shops Canada: fibreca

Galleries
Visit the on-line galleries and studios of textile artists in Canada.

Guilds
Here is a listing of guilds and fibre enthusiasts in Canada.

Briggs and Little
Briggs and Little Woolen Mills has been spinning wool from Canadian sheep for the past 140 years.

Cornerstone Fibres
Angora bunnies and lots of other goodies for the handspinner.

Fleece Artist
Kathryn Thomas has been supplying wools, yarns and natural fibres to weavers and spinners in Nova Scotia for over 20 years.

Langley Yarns
Spinning wheels and fiber, looms, weaving yarns, and weaving lessons by Barbara Braaten.

MacAusland’s Woollen Mills Ltd.
MacAusland’s has been producing yarn since 1932. This family run business supplies custom spinning and weaving yarns and their own pure wool blankets.

Maurice Brassard and Fils
Weaving yarns: cottons, linens, silk, cottolin, lambs wool, bamboo, alpaca, leclerc looms.

Shelridge Farm
Shelridge Farm in Ariss, ON has a lovely selection of hand-dyed wools, mohair and cotton yarns.

Spruce Haven Farm
A low-input based farm raising Columbia and Cheviot.

Sun Bench Fibers
Sun Bench carries a variety of fibre and supplies for the weaver or spinner.

Trembling Praire Station
Trembling Prairie specializes in Shetland, a fine wool that can be grouped into 4 different classes.

Treenway Silks
Luscious silks fromTreenway.

All Natural Fiber Farm
Raw, washed, picked, and carded fibers include: Karakul and crosses, Navajo-Churro and crosses, Columbia Cross, Jacob and crosses, Corriedale and crosses, Mohair, Angora.

Yarn and Fiber Suppliers

Fiber – Canada
Fiber – Australia
Fiber – California
Fiber-Colorado
Fiber – Arizona
Fiber – Europe

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ANTIQUE UNIQUE WORKING SPINNING WHEEL SIGNED

$149.99
End Date: Saturday Dec-14-2019 16:44:57 PST
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Ashford traveler spinning wheel single drive

$187.00 (2 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-24-2019 17:00:01 PST
Bid now | Add to watch list

Charkha book style spinning wheel Vintage, Nice Condition!

$130.00
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 22:12:35 PST
Buy It Now for only: $130.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

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Fibre Crafts Australia: fibreau

Galleries
Visit the on-line galleries and studios of textile artists in Australia and New Zealand.

Guilds
Here is a listing of guilds and fibre enthusiasts in Australia and NZ.

Fibreholics Homepage
Agnes Hauptli is a true fibreholic with a great selection of fibres to choose from: silks, wools, cottolins and even possum.

J J’s Wool & Craft
A delightful New Zealand site to visit featuring luscious hand-dyed wool yarns for knitters and mohair/silk slivers for handspinners. They can also process your special fibre blends.

Margaret Peel’s Fibre Supplies
A producer and supplier of carded mohair, wool, cashmere, silk as well as needlepoint and tapestry supplies.

The Retreat
If you are visiting Auckland, NZ, you can stay at the Moore’s B & B. Landscaped gardens, orchards, sheep and a weaving studio, make for a perfect holiday.

Wales MacKinlay
Wales MacKinlay is an industrial supplier of yarns and fibre for knitters and weavers in New Zealand.

Yarn and Fiber Shops

Yarn and Fiber – Canada
Yarn and Fiber – California
Yarn and Fiber – Europe and UK
Mills US
Mills UK
Mills Canada

Handspinning Books

The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn
This covers almost every sheep breed in the world — from the longwool breeds of the United Kingdom to the Tasmanian merino, the Navajo churro, the northern European Faroese, and dozens and dozens more. It also includes goats, camelids (such as alpacas, llamas, and vicunas), bison, horses, musk oxen, rabbits, and even dogs.
UK: Fleece and Fiber Source Book

The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn
Everything you need to know from set-up to finished product in order to create distinctive yarns for use in knitting, weaving, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, and macrame.
UK: Whole Craft of Spinning

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ramie

Biosteel Yarn

Peat Moss
Peatmoss can be blended with wool to create unusual and beautiful yarns and textiles.

Curds and Whey
Handspinning milk protein fiber

Ramie: Old Fiber – New Image
Ramie is strong and silky in appearance, with better absorbency than linen. This Ohio State University site gives a good overview of ramie and its history.

Handspinning Books: Exotic Yarns

The Intentional Spinner
Offering a blend of technical knowledge, history, and easy-to-use tips, this inspiring collection of spinning wisdom deftly explores the three fundamental areas of yarn production: understanding fibers, managing yarn structure, and making yarns that precisely meet the spinner’s needs.
UK: Intentional Spinner

The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn
Everything you need to know from set-up to finished product in order to create distinctive yarns for use in knitting, weaving, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, and macrame.
UK: Whole Craft of Spinning

..more Handspinning books..

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