What kind of fibres can I spin?
Natural fibres like flax (linen) and cotton, wool (from sheep), hair (from Llama, Alpaca, Horse, Human, Rabbit (Angora), goat (Cashmere, Angora), Yak and a wide range of manmade fibre.
Which is the easiest to spin?
We think a wool staple of 4 to 5 inch/ 10 to 13cm long. Wool, under a microscope, is scaly, see picture below.
These minute scales help lock the fibres together during the spinning process.
We supply English wool in fleece form, washed and unwashed, dyed and un-dyed.
We also supply Merino and Corriedale tops in a range of natural and dyed colours.
What is a top?
A top is created from washed (scoured) and carded fleece. These fibres are then put through a machine called a Gill Box. This machine is able to separate long and short fibres then combine them into pre-determined ratios into a continuous sausage of fibre. A description can be found at http://www.wool.com/Topmaking_Worsted-Gilling.htm. The result is that the spinner has a weight of fibre that is totally usable, no waste due to dirt or poor quality fibres.
What are manmade fibres?
Most manmade fibres are extruded through spinnerets and their cross section shape depends on the die. These shapes range from round to multilobal, each shape serving a different function. They are also smooth and therefore slippery. Due to their ‘easy care’ qualities they account for 68% of the fibres used world wide.
We supply Acrylic Fibre designed to mimic the qualities of wool but with the advantage of being unharmed when washed in a washing machine (synthetic cycle).
The hand spinner is therefore able to choose from a wide range of fibres to spin, each one has its appeal, each one used for a specific effect or function.
There are hundreds of different breeds of sheep. A comprehensive list can be found at http://www.nationalsheep.org.uk/know-your-sheep/
More information on Manmade fibres can be found on http://www.cirfs.org