Monday, June 19, 2017

Socktacular Experiment, vol 2

Right. So a while back, I purchased a bunch of single-breed fleece "tasters" - 50g each - to spin into socks.

I've done 5 of the 7 by now, and it has been an interesting spinning experience. Here's a summary shot:

[top to bottom: Clun Forest, Romney, Texel, Southdown, Suffolk]

For starters, you can see that the colour "white" is quite different for each breed. The whitest is the Texel, which is really quite blinding. The Romney has a distinct yellow cast and the other three are rather close together - a greyish white, compared to the Texel.

Just to recall: these are all commercially prepped rovings (ie. carded, not even pindrafted) from the same mill. These are all classified as "medium wools", ie. not fine and soft like merino. The mill does not provide a micron count.

Here are my spinning notes so far, in order of my spinning them. They were all spun longdraw, true woolen style.

No.1 : Texel
Man, springy stuff! The fluffiest yarn I have ever spun, and I'm not sure it's suitable for socks. It is very fine, a little nebby, and the result is exceedlingly woolly and lightweight. It's very white and has no lustre at all - chalky white. I'd love to make a sweater out of this, it would be like wearing a cloud!
The yarn is underplied, so will have to go back through again before I knit anything with it. 

[Texel, up close. You can see it has too little ply for sock-use]

No.2 : Suffolk
This is an official downs breed, and is again springy, but not as blindingly white as the Texel. It feels coarser.  The roving was less nebby than the Texel, so an easier spin. 

No.3 : Clun Forest
I busted out the spinning oil on this one, just for fun. The first two didn't really need it, but I wanted to see if using it made any difference. The answer: not really (although I have had situations where a little spinning oil really helped!). This breed is definitely the coarsest so far, and feels almost wiry. I wound up spinning it a little on the heavy side. 

No.4 : Southdown
Very fine fiber. It's finer than the Texel and softer. Also, much nebbier than the others so much more work to spin. I did not enjoy this much, it was a lot of work. And I'm not convinced it'll be good for socks, without nylon...

No. 5 : Romney
OK, this is totally different stuff from the fiber I've spun up (mostly from the UK). It's about the same coarseness as the Clun Forest, and not as springy as the others. It has a very distinct yellow cast to it.

[Romney, close-up]

The last two are a Cotswold and a Dorset, which will be on the wheel shortly. Thereafter, the knitting starts!! Stay tuned.

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