Beth Smith

It’s Romney.

Romney makes me happy.   It has lovely crimp, it is shiny and shiny and also shiny, It can be fluffy if you want it to and smooth if you want it to.  I like it mostly for outerwear but, with the right fleece, it can be good for next to skin wear.  There is a big range in fleeces from sheep to sheep.  Romney is often recommended as a good fleece to begin with in processing your own wool and also recommended as a good place to start when learning to spin from prepared fibers.  It is happy to be processed by flicking, combing or carding.  The results will be as varied as the fleeces and often can be surprising in the outcomes in wonderful ways.
Romney has a longwool background but the crimp structure is different enough to make it seem like it belongs in a different category.  Check out the luster and you know it belongs right with all of those other shiny wools with good length.
All of the samples I am going to talk about have been combed using my 2 pitch Valkyrie Mini combs.  I’ve talked about these combs before but I use them for almost everything I want to comb.  If I were going to do pounds and pounds I would probably clamp them to a table using the options clampy thing you can get for them but for samples I usually just comb right at my wheel.
From left to right:
2 ply lace – pulled from the comb using a diz, spun worsted – 20 wpi
2 ply – spun from the comb, spun worsted – 11 wpi
2 ply – pulled from the comb using a diz, additional ply twist – 16 wpi
3 ply – pulled from the comb using a diz, spun from the comb – 13 wpi
3 ply – pulled from the comb no diz, spun from the fold – 8 wpi

 These are in the same order just opened up to see the strands a little better.

And some close ups:

This one was spun right from the comb with a worsted draft.  When I talk about a drafting method being woolen or worsted I am referring to whether the twist was in front of my drafting hand or allowed into the fiber supply.  Worsted spinning has the twist pinched off and is not allowed into the fiber supply.  This makes a smoother and more lustrous yarn that is a bit more dense and is good for cables and other techniues where stitch definition is important.  It is also a cooler yarn as there is less trapped air and so is less of an insulator.

 This is the lace one that was spun exactly the same way but was removed from the comb using a diz which is basically a little tool with a hole in it so that while the top is being made, if it is done skillfully (which is no easy feat) the top is all the same thickness from one end to the other.

 This 3 ply yarn was also taken from the comb using a diz.  Also spun worsted.

 This fiber was pulled from the comb without a diz and then spun from the fold with a woolen draft.  Look how fluffy it is and how there is so little luster there.  This is all from the same fleece!

 This yarn is lovely and I want to use it now!  It was spun right from the comb.  It is a two ply and I added extra twist in the ply to make it a bit stronger to be used as a weaving warp.  It’s perfect.

Like I said earlier, these samples were all combed samples but this wool loves to be carded and can also be flicked and spun from the lock.  Doing those things will give even more varied results.  You should try it.

Three more things.  Anne Hanson touched my butt.  Yep it’s true.  We were at the retreat and she thought I had a bit of wool on my pants.  Turned out it was just a hole in my pants.  I thought it was hilarious and we did this whole reenactment thing so she could take a picture of her finger touching my butt.  the photos were not very complimentary to my butt so I am refusing to post them.  Just thought I’d tell you all cause not everyone can say that Anne Hanson touched their butt!

Also, Brittney is getting married on July 1.  So the shop will be closed the week of June 27th.  We’ll be back in the shop on July 5th packing and shipping orders and smiling wide at you all.

And finally, my fiber from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club arrived this week.  Every month I am so excited when my little package comes.  The colors are always fabulous and varied and the fibers are so surprising.  This month’s was Norwegian Longwool.  It feels like somewhere between Romney and Wensleydale processed top.  The luster is fantastic.  The colors were inspired by Angkor Wat which is an ancient temple in Cambodia pictured above.  I don;t know if that is the actual photo that inspired the colors but it is a pretty fantastic sight. (that photo is from here)  If you aren’t a member of the Spunky Club, you might want to check it out.

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