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Drop spinning and carding questions

Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:36 pm
by Shortie
Hello :)

I'm hopefully going to become involved with 13th Century re-enactment next year and so I'm currently trying to do my research. Apologies if this sounds vague, but I'm only just learning about the time period and I'm trying to make a start somewhere.

I'm interested in learning about carding wool and drop spinning and wondered If anyone could suggest anywhere I can get a carder and drop spindle of good quality and also some uncarded wool?

I eventually would like to also learn about the dying process using natural/vegetable dyes, but would like to practice carding and spinning initially...don't want to run before I can walk

I am currently learning to braid cord using a lucet and fingers, I can also peg weave, so I'm looking into spinning yarn for projects using these methods.

I have bought a lucet from Lucy the Tudor previously at the Warwick ILHF which I was really happy with, but cannot remember if she sells drop spindles.

Any advice would be very gratefully received!

Thank you :D

Re: Drop spinning and carding questions

Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:59 pm
by Handbag
Shortie wrote:
I'm interested in learning about carding wool and drop spinning and wondered If anyone could suggest anywhere I can get a carder and drop spindle of good quality and also some uncarded wool?

I have bought a lucet from Lucy the Tudor previously at the Warwick ILHF which I was really happy with, but cannot remember if she sells drop spindles.



Hello there

Lucy does make Drop Spindles - i got mine from here at the ILHF and it spins really well. i tend to get my wool from Scottish Fibres
http://www.scottishfibres.co.uk/index.html
or Texere Yarns.
http://www.texere.co.uk/
Scottish Fibres will certainly do uncarded wool and will probably be able to supply you with unwashed/treated fleece too if you wanted to start from scratch. I have always found them very informative and helpful and will often be able to supply you with all things fleecy even if it is not on their online shop. they do sell modern carders but for medieval equipment i think the mulberry dyer sells leather back carders without the modern curve which is not correct for your period.
http://www.mulberrydyer.co.uk/

Good luck and have fun - i started spinning this year after 8 years of re-enactment i thought it was about time i tried it and i just love it!!

Hannah xx

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:56 am
by lucy the tudor
If you would like a drop spindle I can include a fleece for free, I have lots, but I don't wash 'em for anyone, it will be au naturel...
It will only cost another four quid on postage so £5 for the spindle and £5.50 postage and packaging gets you a spindle and fleece.
Authenty carding is another matter, but if you want cheap carding and can do it ahead of time and take a bag of carded fleece to events, then Wilkinsons or pet stores sell "poodle slickers" ( dog brushes with similar tines) which work until you can afford the flashier models.
And Thank you Handbag :D

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:58 am
by Neil of Ormsheim
There is an amazing wee shop quite near to you. It is in the hills to the east of Sheffield but I cant remember its name ( :oops: ). It does all sorts of wool based craft stuff and has sheds packed with wool sorted by breed - yes, by breed. (as well as by colour in other sheds). When the name comes back to me I'll post it up. It is only open on certain days of the week but it is a true treasue trove of wool craft based goodies.

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:59 am
by Neil of Ormsheim
There is an amazing wee shop quite near to you. It is in the hills to the east of Sheffield but I cant remember its name ( :oops: ). It does all sorts of wool based craft stuff and has sheds packed with wool sorted by breed - yes, by breed. (as well as by colour in other sheds). When the name comes back to me I'll post it up. It is only open on certain days of the week but it is a true treasue trove of wool craft based goodies.

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:59 am
by Neil of Ormsheim
D'Oh - damn repeat postings!!!!!!! :shock: :shock: :oops:

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:02 am
by Neil of Ormsheim
Wingham Wools



http://www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk/


Knew I'd remember it eventually.

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:13 am
by Shortie
Thank you all very, very much for your help, I will see if the mester will take me to buy nice things on Sunday :lol:

I'll let you know how I get on!

I'm very grateful :D

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:17 am
by sally
Hi Shortie, Deb at the Mulberry dyer does accurate early carders, but they are a bit of an investment. Wool combs are also an option, Jack Green makes those

Re the peg looming, you do realise that has no historical provenance before the mid twentieth century dont you, so though its a great weaving method for at home it won't be suitable for use on site. You might want to look into simple rigid heddle weaving and also tablet weaving for portable weaving methods that are documentable :D

You also will want a distaff, pretty much all early illustrations of people spinnings how the use of one, it can just be a smooth stick with a small fork in the top, on which you wedge the fibre, though there are fancy ones out there as well. Many of us spin without it, but thats a much more modern approach and if you are learning so much the better to learn with a distaff.

You might also want to read up on which fleece types are best for your dateline and region, a lot of the fleece available today is from very modern breeds, adn its huge fun to be able to say you are using fleece from a breed known to exist at that date. Look for undyed fibre in natural shades of brown, grey and black too, that adds a lot of interest to yoru spinning and is very useful in braiding.

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:38 pm
by Colin Middleton
Neil of Ormsheim wrote:Wingham Wools
http://www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk/
Knew I'd remember it eventually.


I would have if you didn't! Wingham Wool's a very nice litte shop, tucked away at one end of Wentworth (I think), so is pretty near for you.

If you wanted to pop over to KIBS (see WWW below) some time, one of our spinners might be willing to give you some tips, but I'd recomend getting in touch first so that you can check that she'll be there.

Best wishes

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:43 pm
by fangorn
Shortie wrote:Thank you all very, very much for your help, I will see if the mester will take me to buy nice things on Sunday :lol:


thought my ears were burnin !! :shock: :twisted:

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:33 pm
by Shortie
Sally...thanks for all the advice, I do enjoy peg weaving in my spare time anyway so thats ok :) although I did see a group at Sherwood with some peg looms last year sometime :S
I'll take a look at the distaffs you mentioned too!

As for the wool, I'll need to be looking at wool available in the holy lands around the 13th Century so I'll see what I can dig out on the net!

I've ordered the Braiders Bible by Jaqcui Carey for some ideas too.

Colin..thanks for the offer of help, If I get on well and decide to give tablet weaving a go, I now know where to go for help :)

What about finger braiding?

www.fingerloop.org/

I quite fancy giving this a go!

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:50 pm
by fangorn
just to clarify, dates would be around 13th to early 14th centuries.

wool or other hairy fuzzy stuff would be from anywhere around Syria,Jerusalem,Rhodes or France/england .

hope this helps

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:10 pm
by Shortie
Found Bedouin Sheep and Syrian sheep.

Will also need to see how available this wool still is.

I found this link which states eastern sheep breeds

http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/X6532E/X6532E05.htm


Would Alpaca be appropriate too?? :?

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:05 am
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
Nah. They're from South America.

I have no clue about 'foreign' sheeps, only the British ones. Although in a sense the concept of breeds and improvement of them for various characteristics is really an Agricultural Revolution type concept (post 1750, England then colonies of). We do have some more or less unimproved primitive sheepies like the Soay, etc but not fun to spin or learn on.

Re. Winghams I think the only spindles they stock are modern Ashfords. Clunkers and too obviously modern - plywood and big obvious logos etc. You want to aim at something round about 25g. Is it top whorl or bottom whorl? I have some Middle eastern antique whorls I got on ebay - they are often a fraction of the price of modern spindles and you can mount em on a shaft easy enough. (My favourite is a Roman soapstone one - probably cost me all of a fiver).

Top whorl is easier to learn on. One nice maker of top whorls is Karen at http://www.wildcraft.co.uk/

I'd suggest rather than specific 'breeds' you find out the broad characteristics - is it long wool or short wool? Lustre (shiny) or dull? Length of staple? That kind of thing. Then just look for a modern equivalent. Winghams have the broadest range but it's processed stuff. But anyway if you can find the general 'type' you need, go with that.

I have an unending supply of Hebridean fleeces - again, obviously British but very 'primitive' in terms of type. If you should need any in future, message me. Farmers can't give the stuff away right now. If you can get raw wool you can pay nothing or next to nothing for it.

What about silk? Again, I only really know about its history re. import into the UK, so not sure how early it got anywhere else, but Google is your friend. :D Also - linen?

Really no one is going to do fibre analysis so you only need to find the broad characteristics then reproduce them with something locally available.

Which means you may need to pin down preparation - carded = shortwools, combed = longwools but again, carded and combed are things relevant to Europe, not sure about elsewheres.

A distaff is easily achieved - any forked stick stripped of bark will do. Of course it's only of any use to you if you're doing it from combed fibre anyway, or something arranged to be spun 'worsted' as if spinning from rolags you can dispense with it. :D

There are some lovely, helpful groups of spindlers on http://www.ravelry.com/

Who can help you every step of the way. :D

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:45 am
by Maerwynn
Don't bother with lustre longwools (e.g. Wensleydale) - they're a post-Agricultural Revolution innovation.

A good introduction is the section by Ryder in CBA Research Report no 40 (Medieval Industries, 1981) - freely available here

This is now slightly out of date and more than a little vague but in fact we know so little about what fibre types medieval sheep produced it's about as good as it gets. It's unfortunate that few of publications of archaeological textile assemblages give fleece types.

An excellent paper looking at the origin of sheep breeds in Europe was recently published in Science but you'll probably need a university login to see the full text.

Maerwynn

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:08 pm
by Colin Middleton
Shortie wrote:What about finger braiding?

www.fingerloop.org/

I quite fancy giving this a go!


Our silkwoman taught me to finger-braid so that I can make my own points. It's quite easy to do.

The only advice I have is not to work with waxed linning unless you have to. It's REALLY strong, but puts blisters on my fingers every time! :roll: :)

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:30 pm
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
Maerwynn wrote:Don't bother with lustre longwools (e.g. Wensleydale) - they're a post-Agricultural Revolution innovation.


Not quite. Cotswolds are longwool lustrous types and they are thought to descend from a Roman type of sheep - at least 2000 years old. So you can't generalise. Of course folk had longwools in the past - we are just looking at them improved. There had to be a broad type for it to be improved, though! (Can you tell I come from a long line of farmers?):wink:

As I say if OP researches the broad characteristics of the wool she needs, then she can pretty well match it as there are so many different ones about. Winghams have the best selection and are very helpful. If you go in there and say you want x staple length, y amount of crimp, roughly at x microns/Bradford count, they will be able to find you a near equivalent, I'm sure! It will be heavily processed but that's good as it cuts out processing time for a beginner and makes the spinning easier. :lol: :wink:

Forgot to say but also look on YouTube for spinning techniques as you will see some from all over the world, including the modern descendents of people in your areas of interest (if lucky!)

Abby Franquemont has a spindling book due out soon, and you may find lots of info on her site. Also the magazine Spin Off (Borders stock it) is useful - they seem to carry more and more spindling articles. Back issues of The Journal of Weavers Spinenrs & Dyers aklso have some historical spindling articles - more the 1990s issues than the current from what I've seen.

Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:16 pm
by Shortie
Hi everyone.

Thanks for all the tips, I'll make sure I do plenty of research into a type/texture of wool that is as accurate as possible before I use it in re-enactment.

In the meantime however...I went to Wingham Wool on Sunday...What an amazing little place. I managed to get a wooden spindle, some carded merion and lincoln wool (just to practice on) and some coloured wool for when I have the hang of it. It all came to £4.20!!

So...although I may not have pinned down the wool type yet, I am still able to have a practice until then.

I had a go last night and I must admit I didn't do as badly as I thought, but I will need a lot of practice.

Its a nice area for me to look into as I'm also learning braiding alongside, so it will eventually work quite well together.

Even if I don't get the knack its a nice little craft to learn and have fun with, If I make anything interesting I'll post some pics :)

Thanks again! :D

p.s I also found some fab tutorials on Youtube, but mainly used the site below
http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:11 pm
by Ellen Gethin
Be careful - it's addictive!

And a word about distaffs - if you have a smooth stick (my first distaff was a sawn off broom handle) the wool slides around all over the show. It's much better to have something with a twist in it, or a fork. My present distaff is made from a stick of hazel that had honeysuckle growing round it, making a curved groove in the wood.

drop spindles and carders

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:29 pm
by JohnM
Re the messages about drop spindles we, at Scottish Fibres, manufacture our own drops spindles mostly from natural Scottish hardwoods from renewable sources. We have made replica spindles from Roman and early Pict designs with stone whorls and pewter whorls from mediaeval times. We also do a range of carders including flat ones and if required can do "ageing and distressing" to order.

We can be found at http://www.scottishfibres.co.uk

drop spindles and carders

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:30 pm
by JohnM
Re the messages about drop spindles we, at Scottish Fibres, manufacture our own drops spindles mostly from natural Scottish hardwoods from renewable sources. We have made replica spindles from Roman and early Pict designs with stone whorls and pewter whorls from mediaeval times. We also do a range of carders including flat ones and if required can do "ageing and distressing" to order.

We can be found at http://www.scottishfibres.co.uk

drop spindles and carders

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:31 pm
by JohnM
Re the messages about drop spindles we, at Scottish Fibres, manufacture our own drops spindles mostly from natural Scottish hardwoods from renewable sources. We have made replica spindles from Roman and early Pict designs with stone whorls and pewter whorls from mediaeval times. We also do a range of carders including flat ones and if required can do "ageing and distressing" to order.

We can be found athttp://www.scottishfibres.co.uk

drop spindles and carders

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:34 pm
by JohnM
Re the messages about drop spindles we, at Scottish Fibres, manufacture our own drops spindles mostly from natural Scottish hardwoods from renewable sources. We have made replica spindles from Roman and early Pict designs with stone whorls and pewter whorls from mediaeval times. We also do a range of carders including flat ones and if required can do "ageing and distressing" to order.

We can be found athttp://www.scottishfibres.co.uk

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:40 pm
by fangorn
ok, i think we get it :D :twisted:

i know its a mistake

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:58 am
by Frances Perry
My partner makes 15th century cne distaffs and stands based on several manuscript images. I also use on whilst on events.

Can be found here: www.medievalartandwoodcraft.com

http://www.medievalartandwoodcraft.com/ ... scWood.htm

We will be at the NLHF and have some to sell there.

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:57 am
by fishwife
Hi,
We have been making replica spindles, distaffs, niddy noddy's, carders etc for many years now - we are the ONLY producers of period carders and they are fully researched - as are all our textile tools!

There are finds of wool in the Archaeology of York books and Penelope Walton Rogers refers to Wensleydale being the nearest match! So I wouldn't rule that fleece out! We stock appropriate fibres for periods as well as the textile tools.

Hope to meet up with you (and all our friends) at TORM!

Deb

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:17 pm
by kate/bob
I've got Mulberry Dyer carders and they are things of beauty and lovely to use. Advert over!!!

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:43 pm
by fishwife
Thanks Kate/Bob - advert much appreciated!!!

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:17 pm
by Medicus Matt
fishwife wrote: we are the ONLY producers of period carders and they are fully researched


'Period'...which period?
Do you do the early Anglo-Saxon ones, the ones that look like a load of six inch nails in a two blocks of wood with iron backing?