The #tuffsocksnaturally project has begun at my place!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?