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A wooly question, or two (Read 8568 times)
srgs9
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #15 - Apr 9th, 2004 at 9:41am
 
Ulrica,
From the brief lesson on drop spinners it seems pretty easy. Also alot faster than finger twisting the wool, or other fiber into cordage.
The drop spinner is a pretty simple gizmo. Pretty much a dowel with a hook(carved is more my taste as I tend to lean toward primitave stuff) in one end and fly wheel on the other making the thing look like a strange toy top.

So far I've made eight braided split pouch slings from hemp and jute. The only draw back to the jute is starting to make my fingers a bit raw, but it's a heck of alot cheaper than hemp. Either way it only takes me about an hour to make a braided split pouch sling. I still haven't dug into my angora(goat btw) or gotten veary far with plaiting yet.
Prehaps it's just me but the split pouch seems to release diffrent. Using the same over hand style as my leather pouches they tend to arch ammo badly. It would be great if there was a reason to lob rocks over a 40' wall. Grin
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #16 - Apr 10th, 2004 at 1:24pm
 
I am serious about natural fibres.  Could you please post images of these simplistic spinners?  I would like to know whether it is possible to make a piece of good cordage out of plant fibres or wool, because I have used nettle to make a very small piece of cord before by splitting it and braiding it.  I would like to know how to make a good reliable piece, possibly for slings.  Please?
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Matthias
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #17 - Apr 11th, 2004 at 12:53am
 
Hey Ulrica!!! LOTS of men spin (thanks to the still very heavily male dominated textile industry, I'd hazard that 97% of the world's yarn production is by men (and 500 ton machines  Grin) I admit that my mail order clientelle was 97% female though... and all but two of the 3% left over were husbands. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the peruvian shepherds (alpacherds?  ???) spun their own sling fibre on the spot while killing time.

I'll see if I can dig up some of my info once I get home... I've spun nettle (and gone through the processes of drying/retting/rippling/combing for larger amounts). Spun and plyed nettle will give many modern fibres a run for their money in terms of strength, longevity and low stretch. So will wool if properly handled. The stuff you buy in the store is obviously not intended for sling construction!!! I still have a wheel that I used for sampling, but sophisticated (if a centuries old technology like wooden flyer spinning wheels counts) tech is certantainly not required. Technology in textiles only adds speed...

A spindle has only two jobs: add twist, and store the yarn.

There is a LOT of info on the web about natural fibre procuring, preparation and spinning, and it sometimes difficult to cut though to the relevant stuff. There are significant (and easy) point to keep in mind when spinning cordage rather than yarn.

Keywords for searching the web:

You want "
worsted
" rather than "woolen" spinning. Worsted yarn has the fibres running parallel, while woolen use randomly oriented fibres to increase softness loft and insulation. Yarns intended for weaving are more often of worsted type, while most hand knitting yarns are spun woolen.

"Carding" is a process used to prep the yarn for woolen spinning. Worsted yarns are "
combed
" to pre-orient the fibres. You don't need a set of combs to do this though. drawing a clump of fibre apart, then stacking the two halves and repeating will give the same effect (only a little slower) the object is to aling the fibres.

"
Spindle
" choice is a personal prefference to a degree, and is indictated by your fibre. Drop spindles can be more frustrating to work with for beginners as they can get away from you. A "support spindle" works nicely, as does a thigh spindle...

Plying
is twisting two or more strands together. Plying helps to stabilise the yarn by balancing twist. "Navajo" pying is a nice shortcut for a three ply yarn. The very small loss in strength over a regular three ply is prob not worth worrying about in braided construction

Hint: While you are spinning, you can get an idea of how much twist you are adding by letting a section of yarn "loop back on itself" (like a snarl in twisted fishing line) If it looks too loose, add more twist. More twist = stronger (up to a point) do a few samples until you get one that you like, then keep that one close so that you can compare twist and yardage every now and then to ensure consistency.

Animal fibres:

Llama / alpaca
Sheep - if you have the choice breeds like Romney, Border Leicester are prefferable to "softer" wools like Merino, Shetland or Corridale.
Silk!!! nice and strong, can make a hard/lustrous yarn (did the chinese use slings?)
Dog  Shocked Really!
Angora GOAT ) mohair (a little stretchy maybe)

Veggie:

Nettle  Cry I always end up stung, but it is still worth it!
Flax
Hemp  we used to use alot of hemp, then the close relationship with the mind altering variety chased it off the market... slowly coming back. If you want raw fibre, which kind is easier to find in your city?
Skip cotton...
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Matthias
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #18 - Apr 11th, 2004 at 12:58am
 
http://www.ealdormere.sca.org/university/flaxspinning.shtml is a decent summary of preparing and spinning bast fibres (nettle)
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Ulrica
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #19 - Apr 11th, 2004 at 9:05am
 
Wow, Matthias, you know a lot! Im impressed!

Well, you are probably right, that more men sitting spinning, its just that I never have seen that.

/Ulrica
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May the stones go your way&&&&//Ulrica
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #20 - Apr 11th, 2004 at 9:18am
 
Quote:
Silk!!! nice and strong, can make a hard/lustrous yarn (did the chinese use slings?)
It is likely that the Chinese did use slings.  We know the Tibetans did, and still do.  However, the primary weapon of the Silk Road, as most people know, is the composite bow.  Mongols, Scythians, Avars, Chinese, and many other central Asian groups used the bow, and so the sling, if it was ever used, has been disregarded.
  Also, all the spinning stuff is very interesting.  I have been looking on the net for resources, and it looks quite difficult, really.  But I intend to give it a go sometime.
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justbarak
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #21 - Apr 14th, 2004 at 2:13am
 
Dog wool Shocked)  My first natural fibre sling was a combination of strands; camel, alpaca, goat/sheep, and nice blue dog hair.  It was quite a fancy sling.  Like most of my stuff, it got lost after about a year which was quite sad...

DMC - You definitely see it on embroidery floss at hobby lobby and michaels, however, it is a standard measurement used for most embroidery floss.  You'll see it in the craft section of walmart as well.  I've always used the size 5.  I had a friend who used the more standard size 25 (or maybe it's 23) and he just doubled the strands.  Funny thing though, his sling braid came out rectangular instead of round.  I think it's because the strands are fairly tight and so they don't squish together well and doubling a strand without actually twisting it creates a strand of an oblong cross section, such that it braids weird.  I don't know, that's the best theory we could come up with.  You could certainly just use size 25 with single strands and have a thin sling.  They actually look really cool that way b/c you have a finely braided cord that looks that much more intricate, it's still incredibly strong, and it cuts way down on wind resistance.  I'm still a huge fan of the wrist loop; in the case especially since the thinner string would cut my finger in half with a 5oz stone.  Using the size 25 strands would necessitate braiding in a more-than-usual number of strands for the cradle - triple or more, in order to get a decent size cradle. 

I've often thought about spinning.  I actually have plans for a cool little spinning wheel that we use in third world development.  It costs about $10 to make and uses a slip drive made up of a long rubber band around a drive shaft and a foot petal to power it.  The unit is about 8" tall and 10" long and clamps to counter edge.  It's kinda fun, but I've never actually made it or used it.  Just saw demos at an appropriate technology conference for third world development...

Barak
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srgs9
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #22 - Apr 14th, 2004 at 10:41am
 
In the middle of a weekend long class, during a break, There was the sound of cussing mixed with laughing. There was two guys who shared a camp one of them brought his dog. While the owner of said long haired mut was off fooling around in the woods his camping budy got carried away making cordage. The dog was missing the long hair on about half of it's body and there was a nice 20ish foot long strand of dog wool rope... Strong stuff but I wouldn't want to get it wet.

I'm courious about the mini-spinner. Where can one find plans for the gizmo? ...
I just remembered something... There is a site bettertimes.org I think. They have all kinds of stuff on food storage,solar cookers, gardinig etc.  Although I don't subscribe to their religious path, it's still an informative site. I'll doubble check the web addy and get back if I botched that one...

Found it...http://www.bettertimesinfo.org/ ; It's worth noodling around in IMHO.  What made me think of it was solar ovens to bake clay glandes.
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #23 - Apr 14th, 2004 at 11:46am
 
DMC = "double mercerized cotton": the yarns are subjected to a treatment of Sodium Hydroxide (sometimes sulphuric acid) while being held under tension and heat. This shrinks the fibres (but they are held by the tension) and leads to a significant increase in strength, luster and absorbancy. For embroidery floss, the last two are the most important, as you get a nice shiny yarn with much higher dye take-up - for all of those intense colours... The yarns are probably flamed during manufacture too to get rid of all the frizzies.

It is very strong for a cotton yarn, but still not up to linen/nettle etc... I would think that polyester (dacron) would have started to make inroads in embroidery but I guess not (really bright colours, cheaper to produce, less fading) The animal fibres have potential for higher strength, but finding them in a similar construction (floss is normally what? 6 strands of three ply?) is impossible commercially.

Hah! Grin You can get the wool out of the dog (usually all over the floor) but it is a lot harder to get the dog out of the wool!!! You can actually clean most animal fibres pretty well - fresh sheep smells pretty rank too. Problem is that you lose the lanolin that keeps it nice and strong / dry /durable.

I'd like to see your wheel too! Do you have the name of the group that was promoting them? The Indian Charka is credited for helping gain that country's independence from the British after Mahatma Ghandi challenged the populace to demonstrate that raw cotton export would not be accepted. The design spec was cheap and portable... It is a quill spinner, so no complicated flyer assembly is required. Not too many development project wheels have useable treadles though, so I'm curious about yours - this kind of work is important to me.

Anyone know what fibre the Tibetians use for slings? (mongols etc. too?) I'd guess that they would mostly use hair (yak/horse) rather than wool proper but am curious 8)

Matthias
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« Last Edit: Apr 14th, 2004 at 3:08pm by Matthias »  
 
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Re: A wooly question, or two
Reply #24 - Apr 14th, 2004 at 2:13pm
 
I think the Tibetans used Yak hair.  It is strong, very easy to dye, not stretchy.  And freely available.
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