Week 5 Lab Data, Group F


The nature of this week’s lab was experiential rather than experimental. As a result, the majority of data collected is observational (and, therefore, partially subjective). Times are recorded in some instances to measure efficiency, but there were no official constraints. 

Learning to Spin

  1. At 1:45pm, each student received a drop spindle, a leader string, and a ball of machine-carded cotswold wool. 
    • Alejandra, our resident expert, noted that this model of drop spindle is particularly heavy and slow, similar to the model that young girls would have trained on in ancient times. 
  2. We knotted the leader onto the spindle and wrapped it clockwise (two or three times) until it reached the hook. 
  3. We attempted to “marry” in the first piece of wool by holding it together with the leader and spinning clockwise. As part of this process, we “drafted” the wool (pulled it thinner). 
    • Drafting was a challenge, as this fluffy wool is very delicate.
  4. At 2:06pm, most students had started spinning; at 2:11pm, I noted that my arms were getting tired. 

Station 1: Weaving

  1. At 2:36pm, we arrived at the weaving station and immediately wrapped a length of machine-spun indigo cotswold wool around the stick shuttle.
  2. We learned how to weave…
    • Guide the shed stick over → under one row, under → over the next;
      1. Some group members said the thin side of the shed stick gave them more control, while others said the opposite.
      2. This was a particularly small frame loom. A larger warp-weighted loom (e.g. for sheets or sails) would have required more than one worker.
    • Prop up the shed stick in the middle of the loom;
    • Pull the stick shuttle through (over the shed stick);
    • Create a perfect arch;
    • Use a comb to tap down the middle.
  3. At 2:41pm, row one was completed.
    • For most group members, the first few rows took ~three minutes each, while the next few rows took ~one minute each.
      1. Reed said, “I think if I got the hang of this I could do more than one row per minute”.

General observations

  • In starting a new row, it was hard to recall whether the last one had been over → under or under → over. Mistakes, however, were evident and easily repairable.
  • We were also able to use the hand-spun jacob wool, which produced more friction during the combing step, but otherwise showed little difference from the cotswold.
  • Ellen found the repetition very relaxing. “I don’t want to stop,” she said. “It’s like knitting––‘I’ll just do one more row’”. Ellen also said that she could identify who wove each row based on tautness.
  • Some group members (me) got caught up and forgot about the motto for the day: ABS (always be spinning).
  • Most group members found this station the most enjoyable, and expressed interest in implementing more artistry.

Station 2: Carding

  1. At 3:20pm, we arrived at the carding station.
  2. We learned how to card…
    • Place small pieces of wool over the tip of the comb;
      1. Better to do less (carefully) than more.
    • Card until “cloud status” using only the tips of the combs;
    • Flip and transfer the wool from one comb to the other.

General observations

  • Carding takes a lot of strength––particularly from the wrists and arms. It was hard to card for long periods of time.
  • Some group members found it easier (though less efficient) to remove and replace the wool by hand rather than transferring it.
    • It took two tries for Ellen to accomplish the transfer. When she did, she expressed a feeling of pride. 
  • The wools got mixed together, as there were remnants stuck in the combs.
  • Evenly carded wool is the key to evenly spun yarn.

Wool observations 

Undyed CotswoldDyed CotswoldSoay
– Required the least amount of strength and time to reach “cloud status”
– Took two rounds to get all of the clumps out
– We mixed undyed and dyed  (indigo) cotswold
– The process did not differ from the undyed cotswold
– The final product was a gradient, not a new shade, suggesting incomplete carding
– Small (primitive) fibers = harder to card; got stuck in the middle of the comb
– Filled with grease, dirt, and burrs (if burrs were not removed before carding, there was no getting them out)
– Did not reach “cloud status”

Station 3: Spinning

  1. At 4:18pm, we arrived at the spinning station.

General observations

  • Spinning was much more relaxing when we did not have other obligations; the best conversation of the day came from this station.
  • I tended to over-spin to the point that the yarn would bunch up. Otherwise, I could not get it thin enough.
  • The wind was very inconvenient. The cotswold wool, in particular, kept blowing away.

Wool observations

  • Marrying jacob wool to cotswold wool and vice versa was not terribly difficult, but jacob is much bulkier, and therefore the consistency varied.
    • I personally preferred the jacob because it was bulkier; I was less concerned about precision.
  • Most group members avoided using the wool we carded ourselves, as there were remaining clumps.
  • From what I saw, none of our group members were able to spin the soay wool.

0 thoughts on “Week 5 Lab Data, Group F

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.