How do you spin a cloud?

By Amelia © July 6, 2010

In my spinner's e-tutorial, Spinning Slippery Fibers, I discuss spinning a variety of fibers (superwash merino, kid mohair, alpaca, silk, bamboo, angora, and cashmere), mostly working with prepared top or sliver forms.

There are many other different preparations of fiber out there beyond prepared top and sliver. I've listed many of those on this blog before. One I haven't talked about much is the "cloud" -- this is a typical small mill preparation for cashmere, pygora, and llama that is just scoured and de-haired, but not carded further. It is typically a light, airy mass of fiber without much organization.

In this year's Tour de Fleece, a companion spin-along to the Tour de France bicycle race being hosted on Ravelry, I'm spinning up 8 ounces of type C pygora cloud on my Hansen mini-Spinner -- that's my "station" in the photo; the first 2 oz. on the kate, the second 2 oz. underway. I'll ply them as the half-way point, and then tackle the next 4 ounces.

Clouds can be spun by tugging off a small chunk, starting to draft out from a point (any point) on the cloud, and drafting from there. It's a random preparation, not completely organized, so you may find yourself spinning folded fibers into your yarn alongside straight fibers.

Pygora is a fairly slippery fiber, so my grip on it is tighter than on wool. That may be why I found the tufts matting in my hand. I checked the clouds in their packet, and found that they were not matted at all, so realized that the matting was likely from the warmth in my own hand. Next time, I tugged off a smaller tuft to spin -- it all spun up without any matting. Clearly, the time the fiber spent clutched in my toasty palm was the culprit. I'm happily spinning away now with my matt-free tufts of cloud. Sure, I do joins more often, but that is easier than unmatting the fiber.

This tuft-spinning is working quite nicely, as the pygora has a nice staple length, about 2.5 inches. If it were a very short fiber, like camel down, yak, or some cashmere, I might prefer to card the cloud into punis and spin from those. The post How do you spin short Guanaco fiber? talks about handling shorter staple cloud preparations.


Other posts you may be interested in:

Where can I get my fleece processed?

Does roving have a direction?


© July 6, 2010 by Ask The Bellwether, posted at

1 comment:

Shani said...

enjoy the journey... love your wheel...