On one of my zillion yahoo-spinning lists, we recently discussed the topic of making rolags without using handcards. I never use handcards, but I like to use rolags, and here's how I do it -

NOTE - I'm fully aware that what I make are not the same as "real" rolags. I'm OK with this. These pseudorolags work just fine, and I love to use them. In fact, this is what I used to spin Anastasia's Socks - which was a very fun spinning project.

OK, so - here's how I do it - - I flick with a kitten brush - very cheap at the pet store -

You can also make pseudorolags out of roving - it's almost exactly like the process above, only without the flicking. Simply pull a staple-length bit of roving (OK, so it's top - let's not have this argument too, heh heh heh) and lay it on the fabric. Pull off another bit, lay it down and etc. The pieces which you are pulling off are whispy, thin bits, not great big fat hunks. It makes a lovely spinning preparation.

If handcards give you problems, but you would still like to spin from a nice, lofty, springy, easy-to-draft rolag, then - here ya go! Have fun!


Last month, my good friend, Peggy, came down from the big city to my humble little burg to teach us how to spin boucle! The class was aimed towards my friends, the Spinning Wheel Spinners, but Peggy made a special attempt to teach me, the Spindle Spinner, how to spin Boucle, too.

Let me tell you, there's hardly anything more exciting than watching little boucles pop up on your yarn!!!

Let me begin at the beginning. This class was sponsored by my good friend, Allie, from EyeDazzler Alpacas up in Westcliffe. Since the class was on January 31, Allie was afraid that maybe there would be snow, and it can be hard to get to Westcliffe in the snow, so Allie held the class at our local public library. This turned out to be an exceptionally nice place to have a Spin In.

We spun Mohair into singles. I bought some Mohair last summer, so I had this nice supply of blue-green curly hairy fiber. Let me tell you - this stuff is the polar opposite of alpaca, my favorite spinning fiber. There's a reason why they call it MoHAIR.

Hair. You are spinning Hair. Not my most favorite spindling experience. But, I'm willing to learn something new.

First - we made "brushed mohair." (as always, click on the photo to enlarge it.)We just made a two ply, then simply brushed it with a regular old hairbrush. Nice!

I think that my particular batch of mohair must have come from an older goat because it was pretty coarse and hairlike. Peggy had some nicer, softer mohair, which she explained came from younger animals. Like just about any other animal, its hair gets more coarse as it ages.

Second - we made "two pass boucle" which was easy enough, and really pretty, but really fragile and delicate, as the little boucles slide along the thread.

I can't see knitting with this, as I think that all of the little bumps would get pushed into a giant wad.

Here's how you can do it - spin some mohair, or any other fiber, into a fairly slender single with medium to high twist. On another spindle, start a leader of sewing thread, fine yarn, embroidery floss, or whatever. Tie your single onto the thread, and start spinning your spindle, slowly, in the plying direction - in my case, counterclockwise. Feed out about a foot or two feet's worth and then, slowly, begin to gently push the single down the thread, towards the spindle. Keep pushing, evening it out along the thread and - suddenly - little boucles pop out! Arrange them nicely, then wind on to the spindle, and repeat with another arm's length. Continue until you are all done. It's called "two pass" because the first pass was spinning the mohair, and the second pass is plying it with the thread and making the little boucles.

Third - we made "three pass boucle" and WOW, this came out really nice! The little boucles are held firmly in place, and the yarn is quite stable. Now, this is something I can use!

Here's how - Start from the end of the "here's how" for two pass boucle. On another spindle, attach a leader of something fine - you can use the same stuff you used in the second pass, or you can use something completely different. In my sample, I used some sparkly sewing machine thread, and it came out so cute! Tie the results from the two pass to the new thread and mount on your spindle. Begin the spindle spinning in the original spinning direction and ply the new thread together with the results from the two-pass boucle. Simple as that. The threads from the second and third passes criss-cross over the single and hold the little bubbles in place.

In other words, spin the mohair, ply in the opposite direction, then ply again in the original spinning direction. I'd use the terms "S" and "Z" but I *always* get it backwards, so just figure it out.

The ladies at the wheels did it a tad bit different, but not terribly different. They also did it MUCH faster than I was able to.

Fourth - we learned how to "core spin" so that little curls of mohair stand out from the core of the yarn. I used some Regia sock yarn as my core. I mounted it onto my spindle, and got the spindle spinning *slowly* clockwise (which was unplying the sock yarn), catching the butt end of little clumps of curls onto the yarn. Wind onto the spindle, and repeat until you've done enough.

Then, once I had spun enough, I tied the end of this yarn to a slender binder, much as I did in the three-pass boucle. I mounted this to my spindle and got it spinning counterclockwise, and plied the binder onto the yarn. This step also restores the proper ply to the core yarn, as it got untwisted in the first step. I plied slowly so that the curls could pop out and not get mashed. The result is... interesting... but I can't see that I'll ever actually have a project which calls for something like this, but then, as you know, I have no imagination whatsoever.

**It's important to note that the binder thread, in any of the above projects, can be threaded with beads, which can be fed into place as you are plying the yarn. I simply couldn't figure out how to do this without sprouting a whole 'nother set of arms, so I left it to my Spinning Wheel friends to do that part. The ladies at the wheels were doing a fantastic job of it, and their beaded boucle yarn came out really beautiful!

Peggy helped me realize that it's time to start a spinning binder - how I wish I had done this a long time ago. From now on - you hear me? - from now on, I'm going to keep notes and samples and put them into this binder! Let's just hope that my natural laziness doesn't cause me to drop this project.My daughter gave me this binder. She feels that she's outgrown the multicolored-laser-iridescent design. Funny, I haven't outgrown it at all. How does this work. I think that this is the COOLEST binder ever!

Thanks, Peggy, and Thanks Allie! This was a wonderful class! I learned a lot and best of all, I had a blast.

Go spin some boucle!!!