Cashmere, one of the most approachable of the luxury fibres, has been my focus lately. I have been spinning the cashmere fibre that I purchased from Belisa Cashmere at the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair, using my little supported spindles from Hipstings.
Being such a fine, short staple length fibre, I decided to spin my cashmere from the cloud. A cloud simply a disorganised pile of fibre with lots of air and space incorporated.
To create the cloud I took my fibre bundle and held it in one hand, pinching a small number of fibres with the other.
And pulled those away from the bundle.
Repeating this, I ended up with a lovely soft pile of fibre, my cloud, ready to spin from.
A cloud is the perfect preparation for employing the long draw spinning technique, in which I keep my dominant hand on my spindle, and use my other hand to draw the fibre bundle away from the forming yarn. Here it’s the twist alone that draws new fibre into the yarn, there’s no pinching and drawing out as in the short draw.
I spun my cashmere to both of my Hipstrings spindles. My singles were fine, and not entirely regular, which was partly by design and partly because I was new to this fibre. I like embracing the irregularities, as I get better at spinning I’ll probably never be able to make this kind of yarn again.
I plied directly from my Hipstrings spindles onto my Royale Hare spindle. This is why I purchased two identical spindles, so that I could spin until they were both full then move straight only plying.
And I love my Royale Hare for plying. It’s heavy brass base supports the spindle so that once I set it spinning I can use both my hands however I want. It can also hold a lot of fibre, which is what you want when you’re plying two spindles full of singles together.
Here’s my finished yarn, so soft and lovely. It certainly has that handspun feel, but there’s nothing wrong with that :)
And it’s pretty fine, (as tends to be the result of spinning with a long draw on a small spindle,) somewhere between lace-weight (2-ply) and figuring-weight (4-ply).
I’ve noticed that spinners often to show give yarn next to coins, to give a sense of scale. The trouble is the only coins that mean anything to me are Australian, and that probably wont mean anything to most of you… which got me thinking, I need something that’s universal, that’s same size where ever in the world you are. A universal serial bus! Or USB. So there you have it, my yarn, against a USB, all fluffy and fine. I have no idea what I’ll do with it, but I’ll work something out