March 23, 2010

NEXT MEETING: March 31, 2010, 7:30 PM

An Evening With Cashmere
Bring the Champagne!

Come and hear all about cashmere goats from breeder Valerie Byrne. Valerie and her herd live in Castro Valley, not too far from us. She will tell us what it takes to raise these delightful creatures, and bring fiber samples and photos of her cuties. As Pam said at the last Monday Spinning, "It only takes a handful of cashmere fiber to keep you amused all evening at the spinning wheel!" A little bit does go a long way.

If you have never tried spinning cashmere, its not terribly difficult, but like everything, takes just a bit of practice. Spin it fairly fine and woolen, to give loft and softness. Use a short two-handed draw with a draft area of about 1 inch. Most pure cashmere will need no carding, just fluff up a handful and hold it very lightly as you spin. Work with loose tension, the tug should be just enough to allow the yarn to wind on the bobbin. As the twist runs up the yarn towards the fluff in your hand, let it go clear up into the mass of fibers, then gently pull out a short draft. Your holding hand should not be clutching the fluff, but just gently cradling it.

If you have problems with breakage, generally, either there is too much tension from your wheel, or not enough twist on your fiber. Cashmere will want to spin a fine yarn. If you want a medium sized yarn, plan on several plies. Remember though, that cashmere is much warmer than wool.

Cashmere will also blend well with other natural fibers of similar fineness and length. Fine wool, tussah and bombyx silk, camel down, angora rabbit, buffalo and Quiviut down will all look marvelous as blends.


Forest Home Farms
May 2, Sheep Shearing Day, 11am-3pm,
19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd. San Ramon [Right off 680]

The rains have stopped and the weather is starting to warm up -- time to give the sheep who live at Forest Home Farms their annual haircut!

Spinning At The Winery
A Day of Spinning in Livermore's Wine Country
June 5, 2010, 10 am to 4 pm
Retzlaff Winery, 1356 S. Livermore Ave. Livermore

Fleeces, Fiber, Yarn & Much More! Featuring California Vendors with some really terrific goodies. Bring your wheel and a pot-luck dish to share for lunch. $5 entry per person.