Sunday, February 6, 2011

Back to 100-Mile wear - local Polwarth

So you may have been wondering in the past while, what ever happened to the idea of 100-mile wear.  Well, I haven't abandonded the idea at all. I was seduced by all the wonderful yarns and patterns out there and my own desire to make things FAST.

However, 100-mile wear, is much like the Slow Food Movement. Good things take time and energy to produce. With that in mind, here are some of the things I am working on lately:

The fibre I am using is locally sourced Polwarth.  All washed up, I have a pound of the fibre.  In the photo here is a combed nest, waiting to be spun; some fibre already spun on my Houndesign lace spindle; and a sample swatch from fibre that I spun on my Ashford Traditional last weekend.  Here's a close-up:

This fibre is amazing: it is extremly soft - no surprise since the breed is 3/4 Merino, yet the staples are long -- 4 inches, (10 cm) thanks to the 1/4 addition of the longwool from the Lincoln. 

There is a good crimp on this wool -- crimp being the waves you see in the wool.  Crimp allows the yarn, once spun and washed, to have some elasticity, a desireable effect.  You want your sweaters to stretch with you when you bend your arm or reach for someting, and then move back into shape.  The staple on the left, when stretched out is 4 inches, the one on the right, when stretched out is nearly 5. For those of you out there who spin, this makes for dreamy spinning, especially if the fibre has been prepared using wool combs.

My plan today is to comb up a bunch of nests -- maybe even as much as a 1/4 of a pound, and spin it up on my wheel.  This kind of fibre wants to be spun fine, so I'll do it.  And then, the skeins will hit the dye pot -- I'm thinking some varigated yarn with analagous colours. 

Stay tuned.


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