Saturday, 20 February 2010

Bison Down

We visited some friends who farm bison the other week and they dropped a little pile of darkness on me that they'd just picked up in the corral. It's not exactly shedding time up here in the snow, but someone lost a bit of blanket I guess. Anyway, it was lovely, soft, and very clean. All I had to do was dehair it, which I did by grasping the hair in one hand and the down in the other and gently tugging until the hair came loose. I did that for the whole pile (only a few grams) and then rinsed the down in the sink to get the dust off, of which there was very little, being as all our dust is covered in snow, lol!

I wasn't sure how to deal with it though as the staple length is only about 2 cm. It is very crimpy though and so soft you almost can't even feel it! I did some internet research and decided that rolling it into punis was the best way to go and it worked very well indeed. I have never rolled a puni in my life (my husband things that sounds kind of dirty...hmmm) but since the fibre did not get all mussed up when I rinsed it, the whole process of carding (barely) and rolling was very easy. Spinning Spider Jenny has lots of good posts on carding and rolling punis and I would say that is where I got the most helpful info.

I spun the punis woolen style on my lightest spindle which I used supported. It's a bottom whorl with a fairly flat tip, so it was fairly stable on a flat surface. I used a cookie sheet on the floor or the kitchen table if I was standing. It took a LOT of twist, so much that I didn't actually get enough twist in the last bit and it kept falling apart when I plied it. I mean a LOT of twist. Lots lots lots. Like you are going nuts. Really. I navajo plied just a little bit to get enough to knit the sample above and then did the rest as 2 ply almost lace weight. It also really bloomed so the yarn was a bit bigger than I anticipated. I only have maybe 10 metres, but it is so soft and lovely. What to do with 10 metres though?

Here are some link to my favourite posts from Jenny Bakriges blog, the Spinning Spider Jenny. She has a new book due out in the spring which I can't wait to see. If it is anything like her blog, it will be a treasure. Many of my best spinning skills were gained from reading her blog.

Making Punis
More on Punis
Please Don't Kill the Baby Bird
Drafting Techniques for Handspinners
Opinions on Drafting Techniques for Handspinners

And three posts on hand carding:
Hand Carding Wool Locks For Spinning
My Dad & more on hand carding
Hand Carding: Keeping Colors Clear and Fiber Blends

Thanks Jenny.

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