Spinning With: Silk Noil and US Grade A Top

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Hello, today I am sharing more of my spinning fibres experiments. This time they are more experimental materials for me. I have no clue what I could or will use the silk noil for. I think I will probably weave with it, but made into what I am still unsure of. I would also have to spin a lot to be able to weave anything worthwhile with it. The other material is a blend, it is sold as US Grade A Top and I only bought one half pound bag. I like the blend but I am afraid I won’t have enough for any large projects, so perhaps socks. But enough about what I am thinking about making out of the wools and more about their qualities and what it was like to spin with them.

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I will start with the silk noil. This is the first silk I have ever spun, and I bought it because because as a fabric it intrigues me and I am wondering if I might be able to make some of my own. Though a difference between this noil and most that you buy is that the stuff I bought is uncultivated, so it is uncleaned and has bits of debris in it. I am assuming it is bits of silk worm as the bits can be quite large, but do not quote me on that. I am just a humble experimenter here. The staple is very short. I would not even consider it having a staple length as it is more fluff stuck together with no real direction of fibre. This make it very soft and fluffy feeling even when spun. And like silk noil fabric I would say it is not silky feeling but it has a nice weight to it.

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My experience of spinning with it is that it was tricky at times but then I had the hang of it at others. I found that leaving the big bits of debris in the roving was easier than picking it out. Also I found that drafting a length was easier than attempting to draft while spinning. So then when I was spinning I was mainly just adding the twist in. Lastly for the spinning I would also say that trying to spin it on a wheel would be very difficult unless it was blended with a long stapled wool, since it is not a draft able material necessarily. But I am not a spinning expert or experienced with a wheel. I spun the material on a drop spindle and found it was manageable that way though it took longer than spinning a more regular material.

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I really do want to weave with my ball of silk noil, and perhaps it can be an accent material for a project in the weaving class I am taking this upcoming semester. Fingers crossed.

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As for the US Grade A Top blend. It was one of the easiest wools I have spun. Since it is a blend it sort of picks and chooses wools with different qualities in hopes that you get a bit of the best of each wool. This blend consists of Black and White face, Columbian, and Rambouillet natural white wools.

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It was very easy to spin, it was easy to draft, had a long staple (3-4 inches), and did not over spin on my drop spindle too much. I would say that it is not the most luxurious wool. It is more of a sock wool, not a wonderful fluffy scarf wool. I suppose you could call it practical. Which was reflected in the price as well since I payed just under twenty dollars for half a pound.

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The qualities of each fleece that is blended in the wool are reflected in the wool. It has a certain weight to it since it has some Blackface Scottish wool, a fineness to it because of the Whiteface Woodland wool which is known to have some inconsistencies, a bit crisp and holds its shape well perhaps because of the Columbian wool, but then is not too crisp or heavy because of the airy Rambouillet. And overall none of the wools are known for their lustre which is also noticeable in the wool since it does not have a high shine. So for my use it will probably turn into socks, maybe some woven samples, or some small felting endeavours.

I hope you found this useful, cheers!

L

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