Monday, December 6, 2010

Sampling Wool - Angora Yarn

As part of my stash reduction, I picked out a yarn that I thought would make a nice little handbag.  I purchased two cones of wool mixed with angora yarn at an estate sale a while ago.

I got out my notes from a Magic in the Water workshop that I went to a while ago.  We made several samples with different wools, so I was able to compare my yarn with some of the yarns we used in the class.  Mine was similar to one that was sett at 10 epi, so that was my starting point. 

I checked out the shrinkage and decided that 10" in the reed would work.  I liked it already, since that was only 100 ends!  I wanted to make about six bags, plus have some to play around with, so I measured out about ten yards.  On the warping reel, it went quickly.

It was important to see how much the fabric would full, so I wove off 24" and cut it off the loom.  Staying up way too late last night, I did the wet finishing.  I agitated it by hand in hot soapy (Dawn) water for about 4-5 minutes.  I changed the water a couple times so the water would stay hot.
The sleazy cloth that came off the loom measured 9" W by 21" L without tension.  When the fulling was complete, I measured the sample again.  This time it was 8 1/2" by 18 1/2" L.  I could tell that it was going to be soft, even though it was still wet.  I heat set it by pressing between a couple towels.  After the pressing and air drying, the final measurement was 7 3/4" W by 18" L, for a loss of 3" in the width and 6" in length.  Definitely a cloth to dry clean or gently hand wash in cool water.

When I got up this morning, it was dry, and so soft. Notice the fine angora hairs on the edge.  The whole cloth has a halo.   It was no longer a sleazy texture. 

I plan on trying some other weaves and some experiments with dyeing using Kool Aid and Wilton food colors.  Here is a link to a description of the process:  Dyeing animal fiber with Kool Aid and Wilton food coloring

If it is not too hard, I will have a good project for grandchildren.

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