When shopping for fiber, you see a lot of words to describe what you’re getting. Top, roving, rolag, sliver, batt, etc — simply put, these words describe how the fiber is prepared. When I began spinning I was told to pick up top or roving. Generally speaking this is good advice as top & roving are for the most part the easiest fiber preparations to just pick up and spin. As someone who doesn’t prepare any of my own fiber by hand and never have, the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences in these methods of fiber prep were not always obvious. Heck, they still aren’t always obvious, but slowly but surely I am learning. With this in mind, you’ll understand why my latest spin was especially fun.
In my big glorious box of Canterbury Prize Wool Group fiber from Louet, I had both a Jacob top & a Jacob sliver (pronounced sly-ver). What exactly is a slyver? I had no idea, but I was excited to try it side by side with the top. No better way to learn than by doing a side by side comparison, after all! With a little research, including this fab article by Abby Franquemont, I learned that sliver is kind of like if you were prepping a roving, but stop before extending the fibers and adding that subtle twist. How exactly do top and sliver compare? Well, I popped over to Nola Fournier & Jane Fournier’s In Sheep’s Clothing where they state: “Sliver is a more or less continuous strand of carded fiber; top is a continuous strand of combed, untwisted fiber, with all the short fibers removed…”
Before they ever made it to the wheel, I could instantly feel a difference between the top & sliver — the top is clearly softer, more processed, and the fibers were more organized — it felt like a dreamy little cloud. Any spinner knows, though, that sometimes the softest fibers aren’t always the easiest spins. As I mentioned in my last post, the top is a bit slick so perhaps tough for a true newbie. The sliver, however, has less processing, less organized fibers, and more air in the fiber itself. Just by the nature of its prep it has more grip as it is being spun, — kind of like natural spinning brakes. Ironically, it made this fiber an easier fiber for me to spin quickly because it had that built-in control.
For this project I chose to do a standard 3ply, so I divided up my fiber into 3 equal portions.
Thanks to my Monday knitting date being open to me spinning, I wrapped up my singles within a 24hour time period. 24hours which included a trip to the dentist. And sleep. And some snacks. And coffee. And getting lunches made and kids to school. I know lots of spinners are speedy like that, but historically I have never been that spinner. That middle bobbin is a little uneven as I rushed to get the last bit spun before having to pick up my kids from school. No harm in the plying though…Which was as smooth as the singles and the result… This beautiful skein. It turned out to be about 200yards of probably a DK or light worsted weight yarn. I will check for sure once it is dry. Oh, and another special treat…
I got to try the jasmine scented Eucalan wool wash. I love jasmine — so much — and have been eyeing a big bottle of Wrapture by Kristin Omdahl since it hit the market. Unfortunately, since I had a big bottle of grapefruit & lavender at home, I couldn’t justify it. When I got this little sample in the mail I couldn’t wait to try it, but true to form I saved it for a little something special. Let me tell you, when it comes time to restock my supply, the jasmine will be coming home with me.