Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Knitting -- beyond the needles

I looked into spinning yarn for my knitting, and here are some stats I got from the people I buy yarn from.
They sell drop spindles, the most old-fashioned kind, for $15-20.
They sell roving, the fiber you need for spinning, for up to $6 per 100 grams.
(They sell it dyed in the wool.)
100 grams is two balls of yarn; I need 8 units of roving for a long-sleeved pullover.
It takes as much as 3 hours for an expert to spin that 100 grams of roving into sport-weight yarn, or 24 hours to spin enough for one pullover.
(It takes about an hour per 100 grams with a spinning wheel but they can cost $400-$700.)
Then it takes me up to a month to knit the pullover, even with all my tricks to speed it up like knitting in the round.
Now imagine you just sheared a sheep.
First you have to wash that wool.  There's crap in it -- literally -- and all the seeds and what not that the sheep picked up while grazing.  It takes up to a day to do one fleece because you may have to wash the wool more than once, and then it has to dry.
Then you have locks of wool, which you have to card for yarn or comb for weaving.
Carding produces roving, and that's what spinning the yarn starts with.  This page shows hand-carders.  You can guess from the pictures how long it will take to card a fleece into roving.

I think I'll just stick with buying the yarn.  YMMV.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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