Wednesday, January 4, 2023

New Year, New Fibers

Because 2022 was such a disappointment for me, fiber-wise, I decided to start the new year off with plenty of exciting new wool studies.

Two weeks before Christmas, I ordered three fleeces from Sweden—all Swedish primitive breeds—so I could begin a Scandinavian wool breed study. After receiving the first fleece the very next week, I ordered two more from the same seller. The breeds are Swedish Finewool (or Finull), Gestrike, Värmland, Rya, and Helsinge.

I chose these breeds because I could find very little online about others who had studied them, so I thought it would be good to fill in the informational gap for future fiberphiles who may want to explore wool beyond the United States and Britain. One resource I did find was from a Swedish fiber artisan I was already familiar with—Josefin Waltin.

I worked up a small sample of a couple of the fleeces, mainly because I was so surprised the first three fleeces arrived so quickly and I couldn’t resist pulling an ounce of raw fleece from each bag, washing it, carding/combing it, and spinning a 2-3g sample of two-ply. I can already tell these fibers are going to be fun to work up. It’s always nice to get a really clean raw fleece (low dirt, low lanolin, low vegetable matter)—making the work quicker and less strenuous.

The week of Christmas, feeling very much in the spirit of fiber, I decided to order fleece samples from a British wool dealer—all British breeds—and ended up ordering eight 100g samples of raw fleece. Breeds include Soay, Castlemilk Moorit, Tyrolean Rock, Lonk, Boreray, Suffolk, Lleyn, and Hebridean—almost all of which are conservation breeds (excluding Suffolk)—and all are breeds I’ve not worked with in the past.

Because of UK postal strikes, it could take a while for these to arrive, so I’m working on the Swedish fleeces in the meantime.

After fully sampling each breed, I’ll use my method of breed study and post my results for each breed in a post.

I’m hoping that 2023 will be the year that 2022 wasn’t (in every good way) and that I’ll make up for some of the time I lost last year. I’ve already started booking private spinning classes—something I wasn’t able to do much of last year—so I’m optimistic.

My knitting/weaving portfolio for 2022 projects is sad, but I’m posting it anyway—mostly so I can look back at the end of 2023 and see how far I’ve come.

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