Henna's is the fifth of the seven Shetland fleece samples Cathy sent me (not counting this.). Working with samples instead of whole fleeces has been wonderful because each sample makes a fairly quick project, easy to accomplish in only a couple of sessions. One day to wash and dry. A couple of hours on another day to drum card it all to blend the colors. Then spinning and plying on the afternoon of another day.
Henna's is a moorit fleece with tips sunbleached to a lovely honey color. In looking back through my Shetland notes, I can tell you that this is the longest fleece of all the samples, measuring up to seven inches in length. There is crimp in part of the sample, about five per inch. The tips were wavy at two per inch. It was a very clean sample, with very little VM. There were very few second cuts and the tips were sound.
What is interesting about this fleece is that it is dual coated. You get a hint of this by the triangular shaped staples. The downy undercoat fills out the base of the triangle, while the long outer coat tapers to its point.
Dual coated fleeces are usually pretty easy to separate by hand. I simply hold the tip firmly in one hand and comb out the undercoat with a dog comb. A flicker works too, but I tend to bust my knuckles every time I use one, so I usually avoid it if possible. Below you can see the two coats separated, with the outer coat on the right, and the inner coat on the left.
One thing that really impressed me with this fleece was how soft the outer coat is. I've worked with several dual coated breeds before: Icelandic, Navajo-Churro, Hebridean, and North Ronaldsay. Each of these has a coarse outer coat which is long and can be spun into a nice, hard wearing rug yarn, while the inner coats are much softer and suitable for sweaters and mittens and things. With Henna's fleece however, the outer coat was soft enough that I decided to drumcard the two coats together.
My singles were 30 wraps per inch, about the same size as several of my other Shetland yarns. However, even though there wasn't a lot of crimp in the sample, the 2-ply washed up to be 13 wraps per inch, a little larger than my target size. Crimpier fibers seems to result in more elastic yarns, but that wasn't the case here. I'm guessing that the finer inner coat increased the loft of the yarn more than I anticipated.
I ended up with a little over 78 yards of yarn. It has less luster than my other Shetland yarns, but I love the color.
This very nice close-up, by the way, is courtesy of Xsane, my Linux scanner software. I'm beginning to think that this particular program has a mind of its own, because I am very inconsistent with the size of my scans. Or perhaps I'm just not clever enough to figure it out. Of course, I could always read the online manual and follow the instructions, but who wants to do that. I'd rather spend my time playing with fiber.