Show Notes

Episode 16: Listener Questions (Impossible Episode 1)

From KrazyKatKnitter:

“I’d like to hear about blending fibers to make a specific yarn. So, how and why would you blend wool with alpaca and if you are spinning your own yarn how would you add nylon or silk to your yarn.”

  • Blending fibers gives you the “best of both worlds” so to speak.
  • If you’d like to try custom blended fibers, check out World of Wool – https://www.worldofwool.co.uk/ – where you can create custom fiber blends.
  • If you’d like to blend your own fibers, you can buy the different types separately from many retailers, and blend with hand cards, a hackle, a drum carder, or combs. There are many ways to DIY blending tools, such as the hair pick hackle that Sarah mentions – http://tinydinostudios.com/tag/homemade-hackle/

From debirose2:

“I would like to hear more about the qualities of different yarns to consider when you’re choosing yarn for your project. You talked about the qualities of different fibers but i would like more specific information. Such as, choosing 100% merino fingering vs 80/20 blend that would work for socks. What will the difference be? And what is the downside of super wash?”

“And to further expand on my previous question for a future episode – i would love to know more about the characteristics of knitting with yarns from these different breeds.”

  • There are so many different sheep breeds, and they have so many different qualities, that we actually recommend you pick up the wonderful Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, which details individual breeds, their fiber properties, and what their fleece is traditionally used for.
  • Merino is popular because it’s soft and widely available. What makes it soft, however, makes it more delicate. It’s a shorter-staple wool, meaning it’s more likely to pill and less likely to be durable over time.
  • The addition of nylon adds strength to a softer fiber because it has a greater/higher tensile strength than the wool. Generally a wool/nylon blend will last longer than a 100% wool yarn.
  • Superwash is great for easy care, but it does have its downsides. For one thing, its production is often damaging to the environment. Also, the lack of scales on the wool that you get as a result means that your item is more likely to sag or droop because those scales are what helps the yarn and fabric to maintain its shape.

From Misspammurphy:

“I am curious how much fiber you would need to buy so you could spin a sweater? How much yarn can you get from one braid? I know that if depends on what weight you want the yarn to be and how many plys, but there must be some kind of a guide.”

  • Simple (sort of) answer: It depends! On so many factors, too.
    • Breed of wool
    • Fiber prep
    • Spinning method (woolen uses less than worsted)
    • Thickness of yarn/number of plies
    • Size of the person/size being made
  • Keep in mind that if spinning worsted or semiworsted, handspun is often denser than commercial yarn.
  • Make sure you have enough — always better to have extra than not enough

Please continue to ask questions in the Ravelry group

 

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