So over the weekend I worked on some samples spun from Black Welsh Mountain wool.  First I will just say that every time I spin samples, no matter how many I spin I always have questions and want to try something else.

All of the samples have been carded and then the carded prep was treated or spun in different ways: either from the card, rolled into rolags, rolled into a cigar or pulled into roving.

A rolag (on left in the photo) is made from a hand carded sample being rolled from the front of the card toward the handle so the fibers form a spiral.  This is what I consider a pure woolen prep as no fibers are lined up and when spun with a woolen draft the final yarn is technically purely woolen.

A cigar (on right in the photo) is carded then rolled from side to side so that the fibers are somewhat aligned.  The cigar is short and fat as opposed to long and thinnish like the rolag.

The woolen spun samples were spun using a supported long draw and the worsted spun samples were spun using a short forward draw with all twist in front of my forward hand.

(Click on the photo for even bigger)
From left to right in both photos:
1.  Carded, rolled into a cigar, spun worsted 2 ply   13 wpi
2.  Carded, spun off the card 2 ply 15 wpi
       This sample was spun right off the end of the card.  This particular fleece had a range of fiber diameters 
       in it and when spun in this way, most of the coarsest/strongest fibers stayed on the card with the finer
       fibers going into the yarn.
3.  Carded, Stacked, pulled into roving, supported longdraw, 2 ply 9 wpi
      After carding each carded bit was peeled from the card and kept flat.  Five carded samples were layered
      and then pulled into a roving.
4.  Rolags Spun Woolen – supported longdraw 3 ply 8 wpi

5.  Rolags Worsted spun 3 ply 12 wpi

I will confess, to no one’s surprise, that I love combed and worsted spun yarn.  Woolen spinning has a bit less control and makes a very consistent yarn very difficult to achieve.  Add to that the difficulties of this particular breed and it makes me crabby. It was almost impossible to spin this fiber to a consistent thickness.  But knitted or woven into a sample the inconsistencies disappear.

None of the yarns from this fleece are soft but they do have bounce and strength to them.  I think they would be good for a work coat or cardigan to be worn outdoors.  Though one of the samples was spun as a lace yarn I know I wouldn’t choose this yarn for lace.  It would be good as a rug yarn as it is strong and springy.  I have had softer Black Welsh fleeces and the lamb fleeces can be very nice.  Never as soft as Merino but definitely useful for next to skin items. The natural, true black color, difficult to find in most sheep breeds, makes this wool very attractive to hand spinners

What I’d like to do next is comb this fiber and see what a difference it would make.  In  my experience combing can soften things up a lot by removing the shorter/coarser fibers.

Stay tuned.  I finally finished the Corriedale and have plenty of lovely things to say about Romney.

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