Before I get too involved with my new loom posts, I thought I'd better pop a Shetland update in here.
Once all my samples were washed I started to spin. For no particular reason, I chose the fawn to spin first.
This single coated fleece came from a three year old fawn ewe named Korny. It is the coarsest of the samples that Cathy sent me, but even so it was lovely to spin.
Korny's crimp wasn't exceptionally well defined, but where it could be counted, it averaged about 4 to 6 per inch. Fiber length ranged from 3 to 5 inches.
The sample displayed a lovely range of colors; from cream to light brown to an almost pewter color. And this leads to a question for all you Shetland shepherds. How is an individuals official color determined? There seem to be so many variations that I think it would be a difficult task to decide.
I decided that I would drum card it to blend it. I put it all through my Strauch Petite four times, which blended it to my satisfaction.
Deciding what size yarn to spin took a little research and contemplation. I knew that I wasn't up to trying my hand at spinning for and knitting a Shetland ring shawl, so I pulled out Alice Starmore's The Celtic Collection to see what size yarn she used for her Fair Isle type designs.
Now, this leads to a short aside where I air out a pet peeve of mine regarding knitting books which only designate a particular brand of yarn rather than a standard size of yarn. This information is of no use to handspinners, not to mention that the book becomes obsolete as soon as the yarn is no longer available. However, one day it occurred to me that I could approximate what size yarn I needed from the gauge listed with the pattern. I just need to spin a yarn to match that. In this case, most of the patterns I'm interested in in this book are about 30 to 33 stitches and 32 to 35 rows per four inches on US 2 - 3 knitting needles. A quick look at the nearest yarn catalog (Knit Picks in this case) informs me that this is a fingering weight yarn, which according to this chart, measures about 16 WPI. So how do I figure out what size to spin my singles? I reach for this book......
Mabel Ross is absolutely one of my favorites and I love her books and video. The handy little chart on page 32 tells me that to create a 2 ply yarn of 16 wraps per inch, my singles need to be 27 WPI. I find however, that this is only a ball park estimate and that I still need to sample. Crimp, loft, and elasticity all play a part in the final yarn size, so experimenting is important. In my case, I settled on 28 WPI for a finished 2 ply size of 17 WPI.
I started out with 2.4 ounces of raw fleece, and after washing out the lanolin and dirt, and picking out anything undesirable (a few short bits and VM), I ended up with 1.3 ounces of lovely yarn. I have almost 73 yards and I really like the color.
For more photos of this lovely fleece and to see how Cathy's been spinning it, click here!
Posted 15 June 2007 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com
Measuring Wraps Per Inch (WPI)