January 15, 2011

Wool Breeds Challenge - Romney

Romney is a Longwool breed with a fineness count of 32-39 microns, in otherwords kinda scratchy, and a staple length of 5 to 8 inches (per the Knitter's Book of Wool).

This particular sample is of pre-washed Romney fleece from  katrinaswoolworld.etsy.com  

Romney fleece (washed)

I have not gone through the entire bag of fleece, but what I have gone through has sections with a lot (to me) of VM concentrated in spots.  These locks I'm separating from the cleaner, ready to comb/card locks, and will flick-clean them later (using my little dog slicker).  

 The staple length seems short (only 3-4") compared to breed standard.  It is clean, lanolinwise, and feels softer in lock than the micron count would suggest.  However, the first single I spun was prickly and unconfortable to handle.  And the first very small sample of two ply I made wasn't much better.

The breed standard staple length suggested it should be combed and spun worsted, however, my locks are shorter than standard so I tried carding as well.  It both cards and combs easily.  I tried spinning worsted and woolen from carded and combed prep and finally settled on spinning semi woolen (spinning woolen from combed prep).  I chose this because it made my singles feel softer and less scratchy.  There is a lot of waste from the combed prep which doesn't look too bad, so I'm saving it to card up, picking out the little neps and little balls of very short fibers. 

This is a closeup of my sample skein - three-ply, spun semi-woolen, guessing probably worsted weight - I haven't checked wpi yet.

Romney 3ply

It came out better than I anticipated.  I think three-ply was a good choice.  It is light and soft enough to use for mittens, hats, anything worn over something else, and possibly a scarf.   However, the jury is still out on whether I like this enough to spin again.   I know a lot of books suggest Romney as a good wool for beginners to spin, but I did not find it as easy to spin as suggested.  Perhaps that is the fault of my prep and not the wool, but still...I have to think about this more.  Maybe by the time I've finished spinning the whole bag I'll change my mind. 

No comments: