Saturday, October 11, 2014

Spinning Hemp & Happy 2014 Thanksgiving

I have a stash of hemp sliver I have been saving for a couple of years. Now seems like the perfect time to bring it out.
Last evening I began the spinning using my Norwegian style wheel, which I love spinning on. I'm using the mid size whorl and it took a few adjustments before I managed to find the sweet spot with the drive band tension.

The hemp is beautifully fine, shorter stapled than I expected...and much more difficult to spin than flax. I had to experiment with different methods.
I resorted to pulling out one of my reference books-thank you Stephanie Gaustad for writing 'The Practical Spinner's Guide-Cotton, Flax and Hemp'. It really helped me to understand the fibre & just what was needed to spin it successfully.

The fibre has been sitting a couple of years and was compressed. If I wanted to spin an even single minus slubs, I would have to rework the already prepared fibre. This I did with my hand carders. I just drew the fibres over the teeth & laid them gently on my fingers with just minimal pressure to feed & hold in place.
I tried a rolag, but did not like spinning that way - the fibre was too slippery.

The other characteristic of hemp is that it does not stick to itself. There are no scales as wool has & no pectin as does flax. It is slippery. You must not compress it!

You have to get enough twist to hold the fibres together, but not too much as that would snap it in two.

This is a photo of the singles twisted back on itself.
Hemp plied back on itself
3.25 TPI
When spinning, change hooks frequently to prevent the spun thread from rolling into the valley.

I would love to blend some of this with some silk for a scarf (?).  If I had more of this it would be nice to plan a larger project.
I'm beginning to like the challenge of spinning hemp. Dyeing will be fun.

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