July 28, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011

This year's goal for the TdF was to spin and ply thirty-six ounces of Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) commercial top for a sweater for me. I split up the top into sixteen daily allotments which was supposed to leave me with days of rest and time for plying. That was the plan. It didn't quite go according to plan. Well, it did, until the heat came and mucked up my spinning mojo. At the end of the Tour, I was left with three days allotments unspun and a lot of plying to do.

This is what I was left with: One completed skein of 4ply 2x2 cable yarn which I really, really like how it came out. Three days allotment unspun, five bobbins of plied 2ply, three and a quarter unplied 2ply plying balls, and two partially filled bobbins of singles.

BFL multi natural

BFL multi

BFL multi 1st skein

Each of the plied bobbins and plying balls is about two hundred yards, probably more, of yarn. The big wheel bobbins hold about a thousand yards of singles at the wpi I've been spinning. Which means I managed to spindle spin over four thousand yards of singles in less than 22 days (there were more than a few days when I didn't spin or just plied what was already spun). So I may not have completed my goal, but I'm satisfied with what I've accomplished. Looking forward to next year's Tour when I think I'll concentrate on non-wool spinning. Perhaps cotton or alpaca. Definitely something to look forward to.

July 13, 2011

Wool Breeds Challenge - Norwegian and Navajo-Churro

Black Norwegian

Black Norwegian is not listed is any of my reference books. The label said "Louet Black Norwegian" which their website says comes from Norwegian sheep. A google search did not find a specific breed called "Black Norwegian", however, I did find an "Old Norwegian Sheep" that I believe is the same (it comes in colors including black).
Norwegian sheep are an old Primitive breed of Northern short-tailed sheep. They are dual-coated with fine undercoat wool.

My sample was spun worsted to semi-worsted from the end of commercial top. This has a four inch staple length, and is a very easy spin, drafting smoothly with little to no pre-drafting. VERY nice wool, soft and smooshy, and I think this would make lovely sweater yarn.

Norwegian closeup

Navajo Churro

Churro sheep were brought to the American Southwest in the mid-1500's by the Spanish.
They are dual-coated breed with a coarse, long outercoat (4-14 inch staple, 38+ micron count), and a fine, short undercoat (2-4 inch staple, 22-23 micron count).

My sample came from fleece with an average lock length of five inches, varying from four to seven inches. The undercoat is very soft and silky. I hand combed the locks and spun semi-worsted from the fold for a 2ply yarn. Combing was minimal since I wasn't trying to separate the outer and undercoats, just align the fibers. My singles spun easily when I switched to spinning from the fold instead of from the end.

I liked this fiber and look forward to processing the rest of the fleece at a later date. I'd like to try separating the coats but I think to do that properly I might need different combs. I'd also like to try carding it.

Navajo-Churro closeup

It's been a while!

And I'm falling way behind.

The Wool Breeds Challenge ended on June 30th. I didn't finish all the different breeds I had collected for the Challenge, but I did manage to spin thirty-two of them for a total of seventy points. I have the last few breeds to post here and then I will be officially finished, although I will continue posting about new breeds here as I spin them.

Speaking of spinning and challenges, the Tour de Fleece started on July 2nd. This year my challenge is to spin the thirty-six ounces of BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) natural multicolored top into a 4ply 2x2 cabled yarn for a sweater I'm planning on knitting for myself. At a 4ply yarn I'm not sure if I'll have enough for a sweater, but I also have another pound of plain natural BFL that I can also use if there isn't enough of the multi. Or I can order more of the natural multi top.

This is a pic of my TdF progress thru Day 3 and all the unspun top.

BFL natural multi

I'm also participating in The Knit Girllls Stash Dash 2011 and have finished objects: the Summer Mystery Shawl, two pair of socks, and some plied yarn. Squeee!

This is the Summer Mystery Shawl by Wendy Johnson, hot off the needles, ends dangling and unblocked. I used one of my beginning handspun yarns (Little Fish colorway spun from hand dyed roving from Enchanted Knoll Farms). The yarn is definitely thick and thin but it doesn't seem to affect the shawl construction or pattern. I like it.

Summer Mystery Shawl

I also finished the "Native Traditions" colorway socks and the modified Hermione pattern socks. Both are afterthought heel socks.

Three Ewes Twisted in Fiber Socks for Ewe sock yarn Native Traditions colorway:
Native Traditions socks

Zen Yarn Garden Tencelicious yarn in Sun Kiss colorway:
Hermione (modified) socks