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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Spinning Feathers

Last July I bought this huge batt of fibres at the Festival Le Lot et la Laine.

It was a really crazy batt full of texture and colour.  I have absolutely no idea of the different fibres that made up this batt, but I just loved the colours.  There were all sorts of lumpy bumpy bits that cried out to be spun erratically and un-uniformly.

I managed to save it until December before spinning it, even though I periodically had to go and get it out of the bag and admire and pet it!  Eventually though, I succumbed when I took my spinning wheel to a Christmas market being held in a local cafe.  It was a delight to spin, especially when I realised there were feathers in there.  Imagine - feathers!  I'd often thought about spinning feathers into my yarns, but somehow never got around to it.

This batt could just not be spun smoothly and finely, and I didn't want to do that anyway. However, during the afternoon an older lady called in and sat watching me spin for a while.  She kept telling me I should try and spin more smoothly and evenly and get a nice regular yarn.  I tried telling her it just wasn't possible with these fibres, but I don't think she understood.  I hadn't the heart to tell her I'd spent the last 26 years spinning smoothly and evenly and it was time for a change.

Anyway, this was the bobbin at the end of the day.  Yes, there is a bobbin in there somewhere!  I was determined it was all going to fit on that bobbin.

This then sat around until last week when I finally decided what to spin for the other ply.  I dredged through my bags of World of Wool botany lap waste and came up with these colours, which I thought complimented the fibres I'd already spun.

I fed these onto my drum carder and added some sparkly white tencel for highlight.  This is what it looked like after one pass, but I thought it would benefit from another journey through the tines.

After the second pass I was happy that it would compliment what I'd already spun without stealing the limelight :-

The finished bobbin

And here it is plied together (note the fluffy feather in the centre) :-

210g, 292 yds/223m.

Here's another feather :-

I think this yarn deserves something a bit different, and I may just summon all my courage and have a go at weaving with it.  I've only had my loom 23 months, so it's probably time it had an airing.  In the meantime, I'm so pleased with the way the feathers performed, I need to spin more.  Now, where can I buy lots of feathers?  We live in a duck-producing area of France and have a friend who has a duck farm . . . maybe duck feathers would work?


  1. The downy feathers from ducks would be pretty good I think. The yarn looks really lovely, don't forget to post about the next stage of its journey.

  2. Yes, it was downy feathers I was thinking of. Just need to decide what to use as the warp now.