Lately I’ve been thinking about what information is helpful to know before I start to spin a commercial braid of fiber. That led me to thinking, “What if Fiber Labels Were More Like Yarn Labels
Yarn labels have lots of useful information for knitters. Granted, knitters are mostly trying to do one thing, hit that mighty gauge number, but the information on the the label helps then know what their fabric will be like.
Spinners are working with a more open road, as far as the yarn we’ll make.
Looking at a recent fiber purchase and comparing the label to a yarn label, I pondered what other information I’d want on a fiber label.
The minimum bits information that fiber labels have are:
Weight of fiber
Here’s are other things I’d find helpful:
Preparation – Some combed tops are so lofty and uncompressed that I can’t always tell right away if it’s top or roving, especially if it’s a blend. I’ve noticed lately that some dyers call top, roving. I’ve bought some of it online with equal parts hope and doubt in my heart. It comes and it’s top, disappointing, but not surprising.
Plus, the difference between top and roving can be very confusing for new spinners.
Micron Count – I’m not sure this is readily available to dyers. Maybe fiber wholesalers can help with the information? This helps me, beyond my fingers, to judge the fineness of a fiber. My fingertips aren’t as sensitive as they used to be, and if it’s camping/gardening season, they aren’t sensitive at all.
Staple Length – I’d love this to be measured by the dyer, rather than pulled from a website or a book using a breed average, because staple length varies greatly between sheep, flocks and years. The fiber most dyers have are giant bumps (50lbs-100 lbs) of a breed or blend. Pulling a staple and measuring it before dyeing would be hard, but it would be one more thing to do. Knowing staple length is important for drafting consistently.
Those are my three today. What would you add to the list?
Jillian is the author of the best-selling spinning book Yarnitecture. She is the editor of Knittyspin and Developmental Editor for PLY and PLY Books. She kinda loves this spinning thing and wants everyone who spins to love it too, so she teaches and writes a lot. She knits, weaves, and stitches and tries to do as much of it as she can with handspun yarn. She's always cooking up all kinds of exciting and creative things combining fiber arts.
She likes her mysteries British, her walks woodsy, and to spend as much time as she can laughing.
Spy on her on her website jillianmoreno.com