Stage 7  Belfort - Chalon-sur-Saône 230 km

12 July 2019

Time to mix things up a bit and give myself a bit of a challenge. I’ve been spinning for just over a year and up to now the majority of the fibre I’ve used has been 100% wool of various breeds in natural colours. I’ve introduced a little silk to my blends and spun one hand-dyed braid, but that’s it. 

The Tour de Fleece is an ideal time to try something different, be it fibres or colours. Today I’ve tried spinning baby camel fibre. The 20g sample from Hilltop Cloud is in a stunning colourway – Aqua Vitae and is part of a camelid sampler pack. My first impressions on taking the sample out of the bag were the softness and fineness of the fibre. The staple length is very short, probably no more than 2 cm. I knew this would be a challenge and so it proved. I split the sample lengthways to make a pencil roving. Even spinning as slowly as possible with a gentle take up, I found it almost impossible to get enough twist into the fibre to stop it breaking up. I persevered for about 20 minutes, before deciding on a different approach.  

 With what was left of the strand of pencil roving I decided to blend it with some carded Jacob fibre (natural white and grey) on the drum carder. The Jacob gave the camel something to grip to and the blend was much easier to spin, however the beautiful rich colours are diluted. 

 I will return to this sample again, after a little ‘homework’ on how best to spin this sumptuous fibre.