Monday, May 21, 2007

Spinning yak

After I read Arctic Lace I started pricing qiviut. But I just couldn't justify the expense when I've got so much fabulous fiber lying around waiting to be spun.

So instead I spun up a bag of yak down that I bought at Rendezvous last spring. No doubt there are differences between yak down and musk ox down but I wonder whether I could tell them apart with my eyes closed.

The fiber is quite short. I tried different draws but couldn't get anything but a long draw to work at all. Then again, that's my usual draw and so the easiest for me in almost any situation; ymmv.

It was fairly well dehaired, and the occasional guard hair was easy to pick out. The more annoying problem was big flakes of dandruff, firmly stuck to the fiber. This made for lumpy bumpy yarn. And on top of that, the white dandruff is not very attractive against the deep brown of the yak. In the finished yarn it isn't very noticeable, thank goodness.

Plied, the yarn feels nice enough but not wonderful. Before it was washed it was stiff and unappealing but it did soften up in washing. An astonishing amount of dirt (or maybe spinning oil) came out. The finished yarn is pleasant but not blissfully soft. Maybe I didn't get all of the guard hairs out. I haven't looked at it under magnification.

(The needle card is there so my autofocus would focus -- otherwise I was just getting big brown blurs. Oh, for a camera with some sense.)

So there you have it. It's a nice skein of soft yarn, it'll make part of a cozy hat one of these days, but I'm not rushing out to order more.

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