It’s Always Wensleydale

Maggie spent some time knitting today. This is what she finished. Her plan is to sew a bunch of squares together into a blanket. She ran out of yarn and is currently winding some Ultra Alpaca from my stash so she can continue. Funny how in June she told Maggie Casey that she doesn’t knit!

In other news, there is spinning going on. I am working on a sampling project because I am a bad spinner. I know what happens when you spin different fibers in different ways but I never ever kept the samples I made during demonstrations. Silly me. I am now working on a project in which I will spin samples meant for different purposes so I will have them on hand from now on.
Firs there was Wensleydale because, well, you know, I love it.
That is a photo of 4 of the samples. I have one more to spin to complete the set. Click for biggy if you want.
From left to right:
2 Ply lace, about 40 wraps per inch. The fiber for this sample was combed, pulled into a top through a diz and spun worsted with a short forward draw.
3 Ply spun for a smooth yarn. This fiber was combed and dized and also spun short forward draw. It has a wpi of 20 and has only about 6 twist per inch in the ply to avoid crispness in the yarn. This yarn is very soft and would surprise anyone that it is Wensleydale.
3 Ply Spun for Warmth. This sample was prepared the same way as the other two but then spun from the fold. 12 wraps per inch and 12 twists per inch . There is a bit more of a halo with this sample but the luster still shines through. This one was also spun with a bit more twist in the ply to increase durability.
And another 3 Ply for warmth spun right from the comb with twist between my front hand and the comb tines. 14 wraps per inch on this sample with about 8 twists per inch but the angle of the twist is a lot lower than the above sample. I did knot a swatch with this sample and I love it. It has a gauge of about 6 stitches per inch and was knit on a 3.5mm needle (US size 4)
Though I have done these exercises plenty of times I am still so excited about how just changing a tiny thing like drafting techniques can change the look and feel of the yarn.
The missing sample is one that will be spun specifically with weaving in mind. So it will be a 2 ply with a bit more twist than that of the lace sample and also spun worsted to keep the halo down and avoid too much abrasion on the loom and also help to make the warping easy.
Currently in the works is Cormo.
All of these fleeces are available in the shop and online. I wouldn’t sell anything in the shop that I am not convinced is the best I can get at the time – but I keep searching. If there is a fleece type you are searching for and you don’t see it in the shop please email or call. But I do have plans for photographing and listing the 40 fleeces that are missing right now.


9 thoughts on “It’s Always Wensleydale”

  1. Stripeyspots

    I loved, loved, LOVED being able to zoom in on the different samples!

  2. Anonymous

    What an excellent idea! I look forward to seeing the other samples.

  3. Mickey

    Nice samples. I have tried to follow the index card sampling method (wrap a bit of single and a bit of plied yarn on a card) and while it does help with being consistent throughout project I have no idea what else that fleece or roving could have been. Must sample today while I wait for midwest snow to leave. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Donna B

    Your yarn is so beauteous.

  5. Sarasponda

    Loving your samples! Really making me lust after some Wensleydale. What combs do you use to comb your Wensleydale?

  6. Beth

    My favorite combs are the Valkyrie 2 pitch. I use them the most of all the combs I own. the size is good and the weight is comfortable.

  7. Anonymous

    I'm trying Wensleydale lately, and liking a lot about it, but in spinning it worsted I'm having trouble smoothing in the ends(that point towards the orifice) as my fingers slide backwards along the yarn. I'd say my BFL worsted is much much smoother. Any tips for getting those fiber ends to lie down neatly?

    Your samples are so beautiful. Just from the picture I'd guess they were silk, not wool!

  8. Beth

    For Anonymoous:
    Wensleydale acts a lot like Mohair in that it will make a beautiful fuzzy halo. If you want a smooth yarn in the end with no halo then Wensleydale is not your sheep. Many of the Longwools like their ends to stick out. I'm having a hard time thinking of a nonfuzzy one at the moment. Lincoln is next on my list so I'll report back…I think you can get a very smooth yarn with Lincoln but it is much more coarse.

  9. Anonymous

    Thank you for your reply. I apologize for being "anonymous"; I'm a little confused and skittish about the whole Google or other kind of ID thing.

    Before I read your reply, I had some pretty satisfactory results working from freshly combed prepared top spun point-of-contact and with my orifice hand moving smoothly down the wool as I pulled my fiber hand back. Not "inchworming", just flowing back simultaneously. It produced a smooth, lustrous yarn (could well halo after washing of course)and was a very satisfying movement. I think I'm in love! Can't wait for my order from you to arrive 🙂

    Also, many congratulations on your daughter's wedding. I follow certain religious restrictions on my dress too, and you chose something modest and elegant.

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