Natural Wool Sampling Part 2.
I finished spinning the wool sample pack over the weekend. Again, an enjoyable experience, and I highly recommend these sample packs to anyone spinning who hasn't had the opportunity to use all of the different wools and compare.
1) Superfine Merino 80's top. What is that 80's thing you ask? Does this wool have a fondness for Soft Cell and The Cure? No, 80's is the spinning count of the fiber. Fiber spinning counts range from 30's for the coarsest to 90's for the finest. You might be familiar with the micron count. Well, this superfine merino has a micron count of 17. Anyways. I love this top. So soft. I could spin it as fine as I wanted. It made a lovely, lofty, yarn that I could wear next to my skin no problem. Smooth drafting, plush, and softer than some cotton clothes I own.
2) Merino 64's top. This is labeled as the standard merino. Also a dream to draft, and soft and lofty. 21 micron count. Definitely buying more of this too.
3) South African Fine Wool Top. I was expecting to like this, since it's categorized in the Fine wools, and likely a merino. But, I found I didn't like drafting this fiber. It felt like it wanted to stick together. Maybe more lanolin in it. The yarn is soft. But, my novice spinning didn't treat it as well as it deserved. Maybe this one is best left to an advance spinner.
4) Targhee 62's top. Oooh, I loved it. Nice and soft, with a micron count of 22, it isn't any coarser than the standard merino. Drafting was simple, the yarn pretty nice and well balanced. I can't wait to try some of this top that's been hand painted by Mountain Colors!
5) Gray Swalesdale Top. Can you say twine? That's what Nate said when I asked him to touch this yarn. Yep, this is the coarsest of the bunch. With a spinning count of 30's and a micron count of over 40! This is a lovely gray color, but so coarse! I think you could make a felted bag, or rope with this, but no garments ever. And, I think I drafted it too thin. I ended up with all kinds of wool hairs all over me after spinning this one. Maybe a thicker draft would have kept them in the yarn.
6) Wensleydale Longwool Top. In the Luster Longwool category, where these sheep grown 12 inches + of wool a year! And they weren't kidding. This is one long stapled wool! I've never drafted fibers this long before and it took a minute to get used to it! But, it does have a lovely sheen, almost a glossy look to the finished yarn. I would like to experiment more with this, and make a hard wearing worsted weight yarn for some serious outerwear type stuff. Fun. Overall, once you figure out that you need to draft the long fibers a little differently, a good wool to spin. (Plus I kept thinking of the Monty Python Cheese Shop Skit while spinning it, and that makes anything more fun).
8) Superwash Merino 63's top. Oooh baby. I've never spun superwash before, and I must say, I'm looking forward to spinning my own sock yarns after these. They draft dreamily. The spin up even and lofty and uber soft. And something about the superwash process must make the wool extra lofty in comparison to the untreated wools. In fact, the two superwash samples I spun might be the nicest yarn I've ever spun.
7) Superwash Colonial wool. See above. The merino is a tad softer, but the colonial I think made an even nicer balanced yarn in my hands. This will be my first sock yarn to spin purchase. 8 0z for $8.80! This would even be great for sweaters, especially at that price!
And, I leave you with a detail of my superwash sample yarns. So you can see the loftiness and evenness that even I made of this wool. It was so encouraging!