Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shetland Update - Nikki

Raw Shetland lamb staple.I reckon I'd better get a quick Shetland spinning update in here before I get too far behind. I'm spinning faster than I'm posting.

Nikki's is a grey lamb fleece . I'm a little partial to greys and exceptionally partial to lamb fleece, so this one was attractive to me from the git-go.

The color is lovely. The raw staple on the left shows the white base and grey mid-section. The tips were sunbleached brown, though that is difficult to see in the scan.

Fiber length in my sample ranged from about 2 and 3/4 to 4 inches. The crimp was pretty consistent throughout, measuring 6 to 7 crimps per inch. The tips were wispy and wavy, and measured about 4 per inch.

The staples were open with no cotting, and sound with no breaks of tenderness. Very inviting to spin.

It washed up beautifully. I used two very, very hot soaks in Dawn dish liquid, followed by three rinses. I put a glug of white vinegar into the second rinse.

Washed staples.I drum carded the entire sample to blend the colors well. I used my dog comb to open up the staples before putting them through the carder. Some of the brown tips combed off, so they didn't effect the final color as much as I'd hoped.

Finished yarn from Nikki, grey Shetland lamb.My goal is to spin all of my Shetland samples about the same size for a knitting project next winter. You might remember that Korny, my first Shetland sample was spun to about 16 WPI. My singles averaged 28 WPI. Nikki however, is crimpier (6 to 7 per inch as compared with Korny's 4 to 6) and gives me a much loftier and more elastic yarn. To try and compensate, I spun my grey singles at 30 WPI. This looked pretty good on the bobbin when twisted back on itself, but after being washed, my Nikki yarn measures 12 WPI! It is a much loftier (and softer) yarn!

Comparing handspun skeins from 3 different fleece samples.You can see the effect of elasticity when comparing the three Shetland skeins on the left. After plying, all were wound off the bobbin onto the same niddy-noddy, but after washing, you can see the difference in elasticity.

The moral of this story can be summed up in one word, "Sample!" What is interesting is that there is so much variation within the Shetland breed, not only in color, but in fiber characteristics. While this makes it more interesting for a handspinner, it also makes it more challenging. So I'm not sure how all these will knit up into one project. Perhaps they won't. Figuring all that out will probably be a challenge in itself.

4 comments:

  1. It appears as though the white shrank more in the washing, or is that just the picture. I love reading about your Shetland adventures. I'm working with four different fleeces, all related, and I'm working with four different characteristics , including luster to no luster and guard hair to no guard hair. Love it!

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  2. I swear each yarn you produce is yummier than the last - this one looks so soft and the color is really beautiful!

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  3. Great yarn!! Looks so soft and shiny. Do you block your handspun? I block singles but not plyed.

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  4. Thank you all! No, I've never blocked my yarn. Of course, I rarely spin for singles, though I plan to give this a try for weaving sometime soon.

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