Last weekend I finished plying the singles from Judith’s half day class on spinning cashmere and here they are.
We started with a light brown 17 micron cashmere (at the bottom) and continued across a small spectrum of cashmere blends.
The spinning technique for cashmere is similar to lace in that the tension should be light and the whorl should be small so that lots of twist gets into the yarn.
It was interesting to hear Judith explain that cashmere isn’t a breed of goat but rather a set of certain characteristic of fine goat hair. The 17 micron fiber that we started with was very soft compared to fine merino but not as fine as the white 16 micron cashmere that we worked with next. While the white fiber was so much finer and a bit tricky to spin, I enjoyed it much more than the 17 micron. The 17 micron fiber had bits of “scurf” that look like dandruff – yuck. Judith says it’s caused by a disease that goats get but isn’t harmful to humans. If, in the future I decide to buy cashmere for a project, I’ll be sure to check for scurf.
After spinning pure cashmere we were given samples of cashmere blends from combed tops. After spinning the pure cashmere the merino and cashmere blends were so much easier to spin; the merino seemed to give the top a bit of grip. The silk and cashmere blend didn’t seem all that hard to spin although not quite as easy as the merino. As you can see, I twisted the heck out of it and it seemed to respond well to all that twist.
When blending silk and cashmere Judith suggested to first cut the silk fiber to the same length as the cashmere so that it blends well. She likes to use cotton cards to “brush” the fibers together, letting them fall a bit off the tips of one of the cards. She then spins straight from the card.
If you ever get a chance to take this class I highly recommend it. While it was challenging, it was also very interesting to try a variety of fibers that were new to me.