Spinning tuff socks

The #tuffsocksnaturally project has begun at my place!

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This HUGE bag of Suffolk fleece arrived some weeks ago, and I have begun to wash it.  Like other local Suffolk I’ve spun in years past, the staple is short.

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This fleece is filthy. Fair enough. It has been worn in actual life by an actual sheep roaming around freely like a sheep should.  It is also full of seeds and other vegetable matter.  Again, that’s what happens when sheep freely graze.  But it does make the task of creating a yarn that is finely spun and free of little scritchy pieces of chaff or prickles that much more difficult.

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Step one is washing.  I’ll spare you.  It’s really hard to make muddy water interesting. Then drying.  I think drying fleece is more exciting than paint drying, but even so.  Then preparation for spinning. There are choices to be made here.  Combing is the classic preparation for a worsted sock yarn, but I decided against it.  I have decided to try a blend of Suffolk, silk and kid mohair.

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I have found that blending these fibres really well is difficult if I comb them, because they are different lengths (especially because the Suffolk is so short stapled).  And, the last time I made sock yarn by hand I combed all the fibres and was not convinced it made such a difference compared to carding that it was worth the extra effort, which is considerable. So this time, I drum carded to blend more evenly.

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I did a lot of passes with the wool alone, picking out more vegetable matter each time, before adding the silk and kid mohair. And then… to the wheel!

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Now I’ll spare you progress images of three singles being spun.  Only people who are involved in the Tour de Fleece get excited by the sight of a bobbin filling up ever so slowly!  Have you decided to be part of the project? How have you started?

 

8 Comments

Filed under Fibre preparation, Spinning

8 responses to “Spinning tuff socks

  1. “It has been worn in actual life by an actual sheep roaming around freely like a sheep should.”
    Made me smile into my morning coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebecca

    I think you were wise not to comb the suffolk, when it’s short like that you loose too much in waste any way. That blend is amazing, a super sock! I don’t tend to think in blends as i don’t have a drum carder but i like the idea of engineering the yarn this way. I have been combing my corrie x ryeland x finn, will spin into a 3 ply worsted and then spin up a fine mohair yarn for reinforcing heels and toes so i can compare wear on the non reinforced pair.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Marg

    Nothing worse than a stealth seed deep in a sock…

    Like

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