Two years ago today I was having a magical summer of discovery of wool blending and of color mixing. It was on this day, between blending Seashells, and spinning Seashells and my hands were full of fluffy ultra-fine merino fluff with streaks of silky shiny bamboo, and splashes of color, and I fell totally in love with color blending on the blending board in that month of September 2017.
I am now making a running start folks, to land this phoenix bird in flight to the very same heartful & mindful place as then, as if it were a blink of two years that I have not just wasted mourning in upheaval, but I have developed inwardly from great depths. In transition homeward I feel the grip of intention taking hold and whether I am waking from a dream (yes, it so feels that way) or just finally ready, I am feeling suddenly endowed with a plan. A real plan. More on this in forthcoming posts!
I have been spinning in the last few weeks a big 500g project of color blending that is mostly wool that was given to me — top roving mostly — and up until now my biggest focus has been color mix. I am all about color these days, being more of a colorist than a spinner with any real talent, but I am feeling a shift going on. I crave to spin submissive fluffy air light rolags and it occurs to me that I need to now focus not only on color, but staple of wool (that is the length of the hairs) and on drafting the rolags in a fashion which allows light-as-air spinning. To get my thought, please watch this lovely short video (with gorgeous violin) that Morrie (“Moz”) just sent to me after I was writing to her about woolen spinning, and fiber staple, and even fiber consistency ((thank you Morrie, this was just the drink I needed!)) . . .
If you go visit the page of the video, in the notes the author Ruth MacGregor writes a little bit about woollen vs worsted spinning. Woollen spinning is the technique which is beckoning to me, and at the risk of seeming so fickle, I have a hankering to start another blending project as soon as our building final has passed sometime in the weeks forthcoming, and really sink my teeth into this woolen spinning technique. I am committed to spinning up all my 500g of English Rose Tweed, although not ‘monogamously’ ~~ I am going to be off on a tangent at the same time. Many tangents perhaps.
Can any of you spinning talents out there suggest your opinion of the perfect breed of sheep for traditional woollen technique of spinning?
One of the things I have wanted to do for a long time, probably starting since that Autumn in the wake of the wildfire, when I was spinning up a storm and developing a tribute color range in the colors of my mountain — such like Manzanita Blossom, and Madrone, and Red Clover , and Moss , to create a personal palette of colors and post the recipes. I guess when we moved to the tiny house their was no room for spinning and it all got packed in boxes, but now I fully intend to work on that project.
So, here forthcoming, more colors from the mountain, but simultaneously developed with technique of woolen spinning, learning about those particular properties . . . staple and all of that completely obsessive woolly stuff. I’ll probably be posting in a mad frenzy now, so brace yourself, I fear my blog has caught fire.
Try some Debouillet its a Delaine Merino and Rambouillet cross with good staple length, beautiful crimp and great bounce. It’s a rare US breed and I have some;)
Hey, thanks! So you sell the wool, or you just have some? 🙂
If you are a business, please promote your wool here! 🙂
We raise Debouillet sheep and sell their wool. Raw fleece and roving (dyed and natural).
You can see some of what we have here: https://whirldworks.farm/whirldworks-wares/e-store/
I have spun several different breeds of sheep wool and my favorites are Corriedale and Polwarth. I loved the video!
I’ve not tried Polwarth yet, but if its your favorite, I think getting a sample to spin would be a good idea. Thanks Dawn! xx
A sample box can be fun to play with. There was a rare breed sampler years back I tried and you get to know which breeds spin woolen from rolags best. I had a good time with some Rambouillet. Makes lovely rolags and spins woolen like a dream. Nice tight crimp and short staple is my suggestion. The Down breeds are good. Any of the meat sheep are great to practice on as most are Down crosses. Have fun.
Well, I did try a sort of sampler when I first was given my Ashford Traditional, and I did love Rambouillet a lot! I guess I was hoping Corriedale would be good ( is it suppose to be??? ) because there’s so many pre-dyed available, along with Merino. Isn’t Merino a breed that came from a mix with Rambouillet? I think it would be good to do a single fiber, mixing colors with one type of breed, so I might settle on just Merino, or on just Corriedale. Do you know which one is better for woollen spinning??
Its either that or I have to learn to do consistent dyeing from recipe, which I’ve never attempted, and is something maybe further down the road.
Oh , did not finish …
I think as Corriedale and Merino are so widely available , in ” top ” sliver/roving… do you know if the term ” top ” is more for worsted spinning?
Thanks so much for all your suggestions!