Monday, 30 June 2014

Rooed Shetland Fleece

Shetland Sheep are classed as one of the primitive breed of sheep and despite their genetic make-up having been "improved" on over many hundreds of years, whilst most modern day Shetland Sheep have to be sheared, there are still some genetic strains out there that still have the ability to naturally shed their fleece.  The fleece from these particular strain of Shetland can be naturally harvested from the sheep by a traditional method called "rooing".  Shepherds who know that they have some of these sheep in their flocks will often gently tug on their sheeps fleece around the normal sheep shearing time to see if the fleece is ready to come away naturally at "the rise", which is the name for the point on the locks where one seasons growth ends and the new seasons growth begins and this is a weak spot and will break off during preparation of a sheared fleece.

Once again, this Shetland fleece came from the same farmer in Morval, Cornwall, that all of my Shetland fleece have come from so far.  This is a Grey/White Rooed Shetland Lamb fleece and is absolutely beautiful.

I started out with 678g of fleece and after removing really, really short locks and washing it it weighs 428g, a massive 250g loss before I even get my combs out!

I noticed that some of it felt a little coarser than the main bulk and so I separated those locks out and prepared and spun them separately.  I will refer to parts of this fleece as Grade A (the best) and Grade B (the coarser stuff).

After I combed it, I was left with 52g of Grade B top and 238g of Grade A top, in a range of shades.

From the Grade B, I made a Fingering Weight 2ply yarn, 52g/124m and I called it "Snowy Owl".

From the Grade A, I made a Double-Knit Weight yarn, 2 skeins: 113g/385m and 119g/357m and again I called the colour "Snowy Owl".

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Jacobs Fleece and helping a farmer out

An ex-work colleague of mine has gotten in touch with me to see if I could help her farmer friend out.  The farmer friend is looking for someone to take a whole load of Jacobs fleece off their hands and do what they want with it as they normally just burn it but would rather it put to good use if possible.  They don't have a large enough number of sheep fleece to be able to sell it to the Wool Marketing Board, which I think is 50+ fleece.  Usually small farms will put their fleece together to reach the required minimum amount to be able to sell it to the Wool Marketing Board and divide the monies up from that when it comes in but they are not in a position to do so.

Its a relatively local farm, about 18-20 miles away, in the pretty village of Elford, just outside of Tamworth, Staffordshire.

I had done some asking around of other spinners that I am in touch with via various online forums etc and I had some interest in them and off I went and collected 16 Jacobs fleece, driving home in the hot sunshine with the windows down for some fresh air, phew-wwhhhheeeeee!  They did have a few more fleece but someone else had taken those, thankfully!

Some of the fleece had cotted areas (felted) but with the weather we had over the winter I am not at all surprised by that, its been pretty bad.  The only annoying thing, which was done through trying to be nice/thoughtful but turned out to be a pain in the butt and create a lot of work for me as a spinner, was that they had put straw down during shearing in a bid to keep the fleece clean and free of dirt.  I advised them that spinners would rather deal with dirt, which washes out easily than straw which is a pain to remove as it gets stuck in the fleece.  I sorted all the fleece out, removing as much straw as I could and photographed those that I did not want to keep, obviously I kept the best ones for myself, selecting 4 superb fleece and 1 fleece that was not good for spinning at all which I plan to turn into a rug for the lounge.

11 of the fleece found new homes with spinners up and down and the UK and a couple were posted to spinners in Europe.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Languid - Design SB168 large

This is the last of the Rowan Spray that I have and it is called Languid, a kind of pastel colour with blackish spots and splodges on it.  Quite pretty really but I just never knew what to make with it.  I am still using the same design as well.  I started and finished this on 16th June 2014.

This is a really pretty result from a not-so-sure-of-it yarn.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Steel - Design SB168 large

Onwards and upwards to the next without stopping.  Once again this is Rowan Spray but this time in shade Steel and again it only took me one day to make it, 13th June 2014.

I like this colour and its nice and soft too.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Glade - Design SB168 large

Getting on with using up the thicker yarns in my yarn stash I moved onto the next shade of Rowan Spray which is Glade.  Not the prettiest colour in the box and I have no idea what possibly possessed me to buy such a weird colour of yarn.  Camouflage wedding anyone?

This again only took me a day to make, starting and finishing on 12th June 2014.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Seascape - Design SB168

Ok, so I have come back to working my way through my yarn stash starting with the thickest of the yarns that I have.  I have some Rowan Spray yarn in various shades, which is a slightly felted single ply super bulky yarn of 60% Wool, 40% Acrylic and no longer manufactured.

I have decided to make the larger version of a design that I have already made a few times before, the morocco capelet and the twilight capelet, but this one has a second row of leaves, making it longer.

I cast on 11th June using size 15mm knitting needles, yes they are huge and its like trying to knit with a Mars bar or some similar chocolate bar.

This didn't take long to make at all, its thick yarn knit on thick needles and knits up super fast.

I really like the colour of this one, its a really nice blue.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Hillcrescent Farm Jacobs Fleece No.7

Time to get cracking on with another of the Jacobs fleece from a local farm.  This time I randomly selected Fleece No.7.

This was sheared on 26th May 2013, had not been skirted and had a good amount of surface VM.  After I skirted it it weighs 1.35kg, photos were taken after skirting had taken place.

I separated the colours as best as I could into black/brown, white and a mixture of the colours.  I washed and dried the colours separately, the water did go really really dark brown, and was left with 843g of clean fleece, a loss of 507g of dirt and grease, broken down as follows: 323g white, 263g black/brown and 257g mixed colour.

The White Fleece

I took 148g of white fleece and dyed it with ColourCraft All in One Dye shade Magenta.  After I combed it I was left with 74g of lovely combed top, a yield of only 50%, but it was full of rubbish and VM and what I got out of it was very lovely.

I spun two singles and plied it to make a Light Fingering weight 2ply yarn, 74g/311m.

The other 167g of white fleece was dyed using ColourCraft All in One Dye in shade Cyan and after combing I was left with 81g of lovely combed top. A yield of only 48.5% but again, what I got was very very nice.

When it came down to spinning, I decided to add a bit of sparkle so I got out my Angelina Fibre and spun my first single adding that in as I went along.  The second single I left plain, without the Angelina.  I then plied the two singles together to make a Sport Weight 2ply yarn weighing 82g/240m.

The Mixed Colours Fleece

I then took the 257g of mixed colour fleece and combed it, blending the colours as equally as I could as I went.  This gave me 120g of hand combed top, a yield of just 46.6%, which I spun 2ply into a lovely Sport Weight yarn which I have called Thunder Cloud and it is 120g/380m.

The Black Fleece

I combed the 263g of black fleece which was soon reduced to 133g of hand-combed top, a yield of 50.5%.  I plied the singles together to make a Sport Weight 2ply yarn which is 133g/441m.

So that is all of the fleece used up to make these fabulous skeins of yarn.