Friday, February 19, 2016
Spinning: naturally colored American wool.
Last spring, I decided to spin enough yarn to knit a shawl inspired by the Nordic Wind shawl. I wanted to use handspun for the shawl, but I also wanted to use American wool in undyed colors, preferably from small farms.
I bought eight ounces of gray Jacob roving from Hearts of the Meadow Farm in West Virginia. I also got four ounces of white/cream Coopworth roving from that same farm. Then I ordered four ounces of black Shetland fiber from Foothill Fiber Farm in California. I originally planned on using two shades of gray, but I had a hard time finding shades that were different enough.
I've been spinning the fiber off and on since October, and I finally finished up the last skein this week. I was hoping for a heavy worsted/aran weight yarn, but it ended up being bulky. I spun most of the gray at a festival when I was demonstrating with my wheel, so with starting and stopping and talking to people, I couldn't be incredibly consistent or spin it exactly like I wanted. Then I had to match the rest of the yarn with that first batch. (There's only one skein of gray in the pictures, but from the eight ounces, I got three skeins plus leftovers, so the gray section is going to be quite wide.)
This was my first time spinning all of these breeds. The Jacob is rustic but the perfect shade of gray...I'd like to spin enough of it for a sweater sometime. The Coopworth was similar to other breeds I've spun before, and I don't know if you can tell, but it has a bit of shine since it's a longer wool. The Shetland was definitely my favorite to spin of the three. It's so soft and fluffy! It looked slightly thinner than the other two when I was spinning it, but after soaking it, it puffed up so much that it's now the thickest of the three.
With a pound of fiber and nearly 400 yards of finished bulky yarn, this is the most spinning I've done for a project so far. It feels good to have supported small farms and to know exactly where this yarn came from. I'm excited to knit the shawl! I'm planning on using the Boneyard Shawl pattern, leaving off the garter ridges and adjusting needle size for my heavier yarn.