Monday, 21 July 2014

Hampshire Down X Dorset Horn Part I

Every now and then you come across a fleece that is a cross-breed, in this case Hampshire Down crossed with a Dorset Horn.  The Hampshire Down is quite a dominant breed of sheep in terms of numbers, around the world.  The Dorset Horn, however, is a Conservation Breed.

This one I got for the princely sum of 99p plus postage, which was significantly higher due to weight and bulk.  Yeah, go on, laugh and ask "What's wrong with it?".  I thought that when my bid wasn't challenged only to be surprised when it arrived at how relatively nice it felt for my bargain price, although worried about that yellowish line half-way up the staple.  This was from Ebay and came from Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Hampshire and was sheared in June 2012.

It arrived at 2kg and after a quick sort and washing weighed 1.35kg.  I discovered that this fleece had 3 distinct qualities to it and separated the fleece based on these qualities.

Type I

Short curly locks, very much like Shetland, but with a lot of short black kemp like fibres in it.

These are pretty much combing out but those that don't fall out can probably be picked out later.  This part of the fleece weighed 265g and after combing and spinning I made a Double-Knit 2ply yarn of 114g/390m.  This was a yield of 43%.

It turned out that I couldn't pick all the black hairs out and so I wasn't happy with this and decided to dye it.  For some strange reason I picked the Lime Green shade ColourCraft All in One Dye.  I was initially horrified at the colour as I lifted the yarn out of the dye pot but then as the excess water ran out it lightened to quite a nice pastel shade of Lime, which made me quite happy.  That happiness didn't last though.  As I added the skein to some plain warm rinse water, most of the dye went for a swim in the water and I was left with a very sickly yellowish colour.  It couldn't be left in that state but I wasn't sure what colour to over-dye it with.  Whilst I deliberated that, I dyed the next lot of fleece Ultramarine Blue and then decided that I would add this skein to the dye that was left over from that dye pot.  Hey presto, a beautiful colour I think you would agree.

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