April Breed Study: Eider

I can’t believe it’s already time for another wool to try ! This months breed study is Eider, which I have spun before but it was several years ago and honestly I can’t remember a thing about spinning it. This months color is “What’s up, Buttercup” and I really love the rich yellowy gold. The color really reminds me of sunflowers.

Courtesy of Northwest Yarns – Know Your Fiber

The wool from German Whiteheaded Mutton is called Eider wool.  Eider was originally the name of a sea duck known for its expensive and soft down that can be found in the famously warm and toasty eiderdown blankets.  Why it has been applied to wool is something of a mystery, although it would not be surprising to find that naming German Whiteheaded Mutton wool Eider was the brainchild of a shepherd with marketing genius.  Certainly, it is easier to say and quite descriptive of the loftiness of Eider wool. Saying “German Whiteheaded Mutton Wool” is quite a mouthful, while “Eider Wool” is short, sweet, and conjures visions of mounds and mounds of light, fluffy wool. In fact, Eider wool is a lovely fluffy wool, although at 37-41 microns it is quite coarse compared to many other wools used for spinning.  What makes this wool special is its crimp – while most wools with this micron range can be difficult to spin due to poor crimp, Eider wool has an excellent crimp that holds quite well when spinning.  If you are looking for a wonderfully durable wool for outerwear, blankets, or handwoven rugs, Eider wool is the wool for you.” — Northwest Yarns, Know Your Fiber

I’m looking forward to spinning this wool and hoping that I achieve at least 100 yards of chain plied yarn when finished.

For those of you who spin, have you ever spun Eider before ?

March Breed Study: Radnor Wool

I am so late in posting my March Breed study but today seemed like a good day to post – after all it is St. Patrick’s Day and the color of this month’s study is called Lucky Charms,No Not the Cereal.

I love the green tones in this month’s study!

This month’s study is Radnor, which is a brand new breed to me and I’m excited about spinning it. This breed is a conversation breed, and has been recognized in Central Wales for many centuries (source: Fleece and Fiber Book, p. 209). Even though I know this particular 2 oz has been hand dyed, the characteristics of the wool remains. At first touch, it’s a bit rough but I’m thinking as I spin it will start to soften up.

Staple length is 2-6 inches with a micron count of 27-33 and a lock characteristic of mostly rectangular short pointed tips with an overall medium crimp. This wool is classified as an all-purpose wool and is good for next to the skin garments, such as hats, gloves and sweaters.

My work life has changed and I’m getting acclimated to my new position, which means I haven’t had much time this month to do all the things I love. Once I get my schedule under control I will get back to doing ”all the things”. Meantime I do hope to skein up my February Breed Study soon, which I should have done a few weeks ago as it was finished the last part of February. I also need to ply my finished bobbins of Into the Whirl – Bounty Hunters Picnic.

Are you spinning this month ?

February Breed Study: Shetland Wool

Such a beautiful red, perfect for February !

This months breed study is 2oz of Shetland Wool, hand dyed in a scrumptious red called Frosted Hearts Don’t Melt. I love spinning Shetland wool and can’t wait to start spinning this lovely wool. My plan is to spin thin as possible and then chain ply. I am aiming for another 70 yards of finished handspun, which would be doable.

“Shetland Sheep are one of the smallest of the British sheep. The ewes are usually hornless, and the rams have nicely-rounded horns, not too heavy, nor too close together. Their head is well carried, their face is of medium length with a straight nose and bright eyes, the back is straight and of medium length.  They originated in the Shetland Isles, but is they are now kept in many other parts of the world. They are part of the Northern European short-tailed sheep group. Shetlands are classified as a landrace or “unimproved” breed. They are kept for their very fine wool, for meat, and for conservation grazing. “ – Livestock of the World

There is also a great post on Northwest Yarns about Shetland Sheep . This website is a great source to learn and know about the fiber you are using, or might want to use. Check out their blog about knowing your fiber.

Do you like knitting with Shetland wool?