Remember that awesome podcast called The SpinDoctor? Sasha Torres did that podcast for several years with reviews and talk and fiber festival visits. It was always one of my favorites. You can still find episodes on itunes and at the Spindoctor.com website. there are 40 episodes. Sasha’s voice is almost hypnotic so be prepared to listen to all the episodes just for that.
Well, then Sasha moved on to bigger things. She called the bigger things Sheepspot. Sheepspot is a eco friendly fiber company that focuses on breed specific yarns and fibers which are hand dyed by Sasha herself.
The goal is to use wool from Canada and the United States with a special focus on rare breeds from the Livestock Conservancy list.
OK so all that has been going on for a while. If you haven’t checked it out then go do that. but if you already know all of that back story, maybe you don’t know about Sasha’s Sheepspot fiber club! I got my first shipment this week and I am very happy.
First, I’m happy because even though everybody got their fiber dyed in some color or other, mine is dyed natural white, just like I like all most of my wool! Yes, I got a special shipment of undyed fiber. That makes me smile.
This month’s breed is Dorset Down. Dorset Down! this is a rare breed in England and there are no flocks of this breed in the US! I’ve never gotten to touch it before.
The package includes the fiber – in this case, roving – a nice description of the breed, a card for writing down all the information you want to write when you are doing some sampling and a nice little package of sample locks so you can see what this wool looks like right off the sheep. This shipment didn’t have Dorset Down locks because it’s almost impossible to find the raw fleeces. Instead there are some Babydoll Southdown samples because they are kind of similar.
It’s a nice little package to open with a beautiful wool to spin.
The staple length is 2 inches or less as you can see by that little tiny bit of fuzz sitting in front right there. I made a three ply yarn sample of this because that is really the yarn I would choose to spin from a wool that is this short stapled. The three ply will protect the fibers and so less pilling would happen in the finished fabric.
Here’s what I have to say about this wool, as well as most other Down Type fibers that you will find in processed form. When you touch the fiber in the braid, it’s unspun form, it will feel a bit rough or harsh. Please don’t walk away. There are several transformation points that will make this a pleasant choice. When you open up that braid, it feels softer already. Then spin it with a long draw or supported long draw. Let that air in let the crimp come back and do its thing. You want enough twist to hold it together but don’t go overboard, especially in the singles. After you ply it, soak it for at least 15 minutes with some kind of wool wash and finish it with a bit of violence to help the fibers homogenize and snuggle into each other while at the same time becoming evn more airy and light.
After all of this your yarn will feel quite lovely in your hands. Then when you use the yarn, it changes a bit again and becomes even more wonderful. I’m not saying this will ever be the fiber I would choose to make underwear out of but it can certainly become that squooshy wool sweater you naturally go to in the winter time when you are freezing.
I’m excited for my next Sheepspot fiber club shipment! this one was a ton of fun.
If you weren’t able to sign up for this year’s club, keep your eyes peeled for the next one!
And Now for Something Completely Different
My friend, Amy King, of Spunky Eclectic fame, made me some fantastic sheep drawings that I want to use as a logo for myself. If I were computer talented I could manage this myself. What I want is one of the sheep with my name in some kind of beautiful font and some kind of word to describe what I do.
Anyway, since I don’t have the skills I was hoping that somebody who knows how to do these things might be able to help me out. I have a lot of fiber and I’m willing to trade several pounds from my personal dyed fiber stash or even several pounds of this really beautiful Cormo fleece I have.
If you are interested or know somebody who is, please contact me. I really need to start looking like a grown up professional. Please help.