Friday, 24 August 2012

Gummy bears and fluffy sheep

Taste, test, try....
Whereas all brands of gummy bears are not created equal, the same can be said of fleece within a breed. Even with certain breeds like Cormo and BFL where fleece is very consistent within the breed, there are also other variables, in particular from shearing and processing. We all dream of a clean first cut from a coated sheep but may come across [1]vegetable matter, [2]second cuts, fibers that break easily and chemically over processing which results in dry, crisp and [3]neps.


As you delve into the different breeds, you will find a relatively small number available as commercially processed top and rovings. As you go even further into the more rare and endangered sheep, you will pretty much take what you can get. I should mention now if anyone feels so inclined to send me a Saxon Merino fleece, I’ll help you out and pick up the shipping. Hey, least I can do.


But what really is my point here or have I lost the plot of this post? What I want to say is, I have gotten some really shitty samples but don’t want to discount the whole breed because of 20g. Instead I’ll add it to my try-it-again list but from a different source if possible. Same goes for a fiber that I absolutely love and trust me, read on. There will be many. I want to try that breed again, perhaps in lock if I had spun roving,  before I go committing to a whole fleece…unless the aforementioned Saxon.


Border Leicester

Staple: 10-25.5(Half that if shorn 2x year)
Micron: depending on country but

              ranges 29.25(UK)-40(NZ)

About Border Leicester Sheep: Are in direct lineage to the 1767 Dishley Leicester (now extinct).By 1789 there were two distinct types of “Dishley Leicester” evolving in the English border counties. One flock was being crossed with Teeswater (nicknamed Bluecaps) and another on the other border, crossed with Cheviot (nicknamed Redlegs). The Border farmers preferred the hardier redlegs and by about 1850 this variation of the “Dishley Leicester” became known as Border Leicester

My spinning experience:  with slightly less slick fibers than the BFL, this is an easier manageable spin with slightly less luster. The yarn would provide lovely stitch definition. Locks (which I spun for my sample) were long and lustrous, perfect for dyeing or art yarn tail spinning. This was an easy, enjoyable spin.


[1] Vegetation, amongst other things caught up in the fleece
[2] Where the shearer cuts an already cut fiber. If not removed, they can cause pilling in the resulting yarn/garment
[3] Little annoying balls that drive you bonkers picking them out of fiber that can be caused by incorrect  carding, second cuts

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