So, I've been playing with the Pyr hair I was gifted at NTIF. It's....interesting.
The fiber is mostly clippings; the butt end is, in some cases, slightly matted. I don't know if it came off the donor dog(s) that way, or if it matted when the rescue person washed it. It is clean-ish (it would have come cleaner if the fiber had been picked before washing, but since *I* didn't have to do it, I won't complain), smells OK (not doggy), but, because it is from more than 1 dog, it's all over the place quality-wise. Most of the fiber is 3" or so in length; it consists of both the downy, soft undercoat and the longer, coarser guard hairs.
The first skein was done at NTIF. I handcarded bits of fiber (on my 1/2 size Louet cotton handcards), then spun the rolags long draw on my Norwegian (I don't know the bobbin whorl size, since I had to keep switching them out). The resulting 2-ply is disappointing - the singles are overspun in spots, slightly underspun in others. Plying fixed some of the problems, but not all. I attribute this to a)I was demo-ing, and not able to get in the groove while spinning, and b)I think my lovely Norwegian is slightly *too* fast for this fiber. Soon as I get my flyer array back from Alden, I'll test that, but for the moment I'm running with it.
I thought about flicking next. I don't think this is a good idea - the fiber flies *everywhere*, and I was afraid that flicking would simply make a huge mess. Plus, I can't get a good rhythm with flick carded fluff; I spin 1, then have to stop, grab another, attach it, and start up again. I prefer continuous spinning.
Combing is out, mainly because of all the various lengths involved. I really don't want to spin guard hair only yarn.
So, I sat down at the drumcarder. I carded enough fiber to make 1 nice batt, then I doffed it, split it down the center, and ran it through again. 2 passes made a nice prep; no neps, no noils, all the fiber was pretty much aligned, and most of the (very little) icky stuff fell right out. It did a good job blending the 2 coats (and various dogs, too, for that matter).
I set up my Scottish wheel with the jumbo flyer array - not for the size of the bobbins (which are HUGE) - because it has the slowest ratios of my AA wheels (my Ashford is still on walkabout, or I would have tried it next. My AA is really above this sort of thing, y'know? *g*) I don't have the whorl size in front of me for the ratios, but it's quite a bit slower than the Norwegian. I set it for the least amount of draw-in, attached a bit to the leader, and off I went.
I effortlessly spun a nice, lace-weightish single. Long draw, for the most part. The single is pretty consistent; there are a few places where the "2nd cuts" hang out, but not many (I would have to pick them out of the batt before spinning if I wanted perfectly even yarn - too much effort!). The guard hairs make a nice halo. The batt held together nicely, and spun pretty much effortlessly.
The fiber *does* shed, however. I'll need to wear an apron the next time I sit down to spin. It appears that only the guard hairs are shedding - but I didn't really take the time to scrutinize my clothes after I finished the batt. *g*
I'll probably sit down tonight and card up some more batts....spin them tomorrow or Sunday. It went pretty fast - I ran thru that batt in about 20 minutes or so. Besides, the faster I tear thru the Pyr fluff, the faster I can get to spinning the batts I got from moderngypsy off of her etsy site. *g*