Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday on the Wheel: Cormo Time

It's Wednesday again! That's always a good day, right? Halfway through the work week, Hump Day as it were. It's all downhill from here, baybee!

Ahem. Right.

This week, I'm going to talk about a little project I invented for myself. A few weeks ago, a call went out on Ravelry about a small farm in NY that was having some financial trouble and faced the prospect of going under. I spent a lot of time on a farm growing up, so I have a soft spot for people trying hard to make it work. And, this particular farm, Black Berry Hill Farm, produced something I wanted: cormo roving. I had never tried it and I'm always interested in trying new fibers, so I pitched in and bought a pound of the stuff.

Fortunately for the farm, our help helped! And overwhelmed them, but they're catching up and producing more, so please do go check them out.

When I got my roving, I was a little surprised. This is an object lesson in the difference between big mill and little mill processing, I think. I'm used to smooth, clean fiber. This is what I got:

Let me stop and say now: I'm not upset! Just surprised that the roving arrived this way. There is, as you can probably see (especially if you click on the picture), quite a bit of VM, or vegetable matter, in this stuff. I have also never spun roving that's sticky. By that I mean that after spinning for a while, my fingers are tacky and want to stick together. The fiber sticks to itself. (Yes, I will be washing some before spinning in the future to see if that makes a difference.) I realized that I wouldn't be able to dye and sell it as is, so this became fiber for me to play with. I like that!

On to the next lesson: this roving does not spin into a particularly smooth yarn! Again, it's not what I'm used to, so it took some trial and error to figure out how to spin it. It should be noted: I'm not a long-draw spinner. I inchworm like crazy. I have read that this stuff probably works better being spun long-draw, but there's too little control in that technique for me, so I made it work.

I spun an ounce-ish of the fiber, picking as much vm out as I could as I went. I am currently planning to pair this with some merino that I combed and am spindle spinning, probably for a little stranded project, depending on how the yarn washes up. I have plenty more cormo to work with, so I certainly won't run out. I may dye some up eventually. From here on out, it's all about experimenting, learning, and having fun.

Here's my little one-ounce ball of cormo singles. Plying is happening. Soon it will be yarn, and then? Time will tell!


  1. It is not as white as I expected. I got the como cross and mine has less vm but will still spin up woolen.

  2. It looks fairly white at a glance until you compare it to my super-white poster board. I don't mind the natural off-white color, really.

    I keep thinking about going back and getting some of the cormo x that's left over, just to see the difference, but I think I'll wait a bit and see how I manage this.

  3. Nice post, I like hearing your process! just learning to spin myself!

  4. Oooh, welcome to the wonderful, insanely addictive world of spinning. :)