Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sheep Sampling

About this time, all across knit blogs and Ravelry, one can find New Year's resolutions like "knit/design 12 sweaters/shawls/pairs of socks in 2011." I've never much been one for New Year's resolutions, let alone committing myself to knitting a dozen of anything. But, my newfound addiction to spinning makes life a little more interesting.

When I was simply a knitter, I didn't really know much about wool. (Admittedly, I still don't.) For sheepy yarns, there was the generic "wool," the more luxurious Merino, the scratchy Icelandic, and the (enticing) fingering weight Shetland for colorwork. I had a vague notion that other sheep breeds existed, and was always fascinated when I visited the Solitude booth at fiber festivals because she had yarn spun from all different breeds of sheep.

So when I got into spinning, I was in for quite a surprise. At first, I was drawn to the hand dyed braids of Merino that abound on etsy. But Merino, with its short and slick staple, is not the easiest to spin. Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) quickly became my best friend. It's soft, silky, has a nice long staple, and is pretty forgiving. (And Chris over at Briar Rose Fibers dyes it into some pretty kick-ass colors.)

Gradually, I became aware of more breeds: Polwarth, Wensleydale, Romney, Navajo-Churro, and the tantalizing Cormo started showing up on my radar. CVM, North Ronaldsay, Romeldale, Bond, Corriedale, Targhee,Cotswold, Jacob... the list goes on and on.

But it wasn't until I purchased my first fleece (Sequin!) that I realized just how different fibers can be. And how differently they might like to be prepped and spun! Oh, the possibilities!!

What would I like to spin? How would it behave when prepped and spun in different ways?

My plan will be fleshed out more later, I'm sure, but here's the general gist: each month I'll try out a bit of fiber from a particular breed (or cross) of sheep, bringing it from the raw or washed state all the way through a knitted swatch or two.

I know that many before me have done this. I'm hoping to find their blogs or forum posts, for inspiration and guidance. But mostly, I'm excited to learn from the sheep.


mom said...

Hey Emily,
I'm ALWAYS so pleased when I find you've added to your blog. It's such a great way to follow your "fiber quest"! Have FUN exploring!
Love you!!!! Mom

Bea said...

Oh dear, it's far worse than I first thought! I think we can hand you the 'Totally Addicted to Yarn" badge now ;-) Can we have an update? I have visions of you slowly disappearing under an ever growing mound of fibre!

Bea said...

Yarn? Nope, I should have said fibre *sigh*