Saturday, March 26, 2011

Heat and Agitation

Yoga Scott is out of town so, instead of going to my usual 1pm class, I went to the 9am yoga at Lelu Lemon.*  But when I got there at 8:50 and class had already begun.  I tiptoed to the back unrolled my mat and followed along.  It was a more advanced class than I expected, but I enjoyed it.  When I talked to the store owners after the class, they told me they changed the start to 8:45. The change is so that, if the class runs long, there aren't patrons outside trying to get in while everyone is in Savasana (corpse pose).  

After class, I headed over to Hill Country Weavers, one of my very favorite yarn stores.  The Louet Julia caught my eye today and I sat down to spin only to realize that my fiber was NOT happy.  It had some how felted itself.**
It is kind of hard to see, but here is the really felted stuff:
It is stiff, almost crunchy, and very hard to pull apart which is what is absolutely required in order to spin.
Fortunately, I think most of it is salvageable, and my favorite new fiber is not felted too badly:

You see how the fibers kind of float away from each other? This is light and fluffy and just scrumptious.

So what happened? Well, most of the fiber that I have is wool because, as a new spinner, I want fiber of a type that is easy to spin.  Wool wants to be spun.  The hairs have scales that catch and hold onto each other as you spin and this makes for an easier fiber to learn on (unlike bamboo for example which is very slippery).  This quality causes it to felt when you apply heat and agitation.  Felting is easier when there is water, but really all you need is the agitation. Even a small amount of agitation, can cause wool to felt. I mentioned that some of my fiber seemed to have felted itself in my car to one of the lovely ladies at HCW and she said, "Well, yes. The bumps that you go over in your car can cause agitation, that coupled with the heat and humidity we've been having and you've got a recipe for felted fiber." 

It was a sad realization that fiber is not like yoga mats.  It cannot travel around with you for the whole week just in case you get a chance to practice.

I did get some spinning done, here's what my singles look like all wound up:
I think I've decided that they are thin enough that I can ply them and still use them for lace projects.  Once I get more spun I'll see. I need to get a knitty knotty so I can wind my yarn into skeins to finish it, but that's another post.

*Lelu Lemon is a yoga clothing store on Lamar and 6th. On Saturday mornings, before they officially open the store, they invite instructors from different studios to teach a free class. Exposure for the studios, goodwill for the store, and a free class for yogis - it's an Austin win.
** If you have ever washed a hand-wash only sweater in the washing machine and it has come out stiff, hard and the perfect size for a chihuahua - that's felting.

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