Magic Mystery Wool

Saturday I acquired some bargain wool.

Now, you have to be really careful when you are presented with an opportunity to pick up bargain wool.

At $1/pound, sometimes you’re tempted to take home some things that you really shouldn’t. Some things that will just drive you insane as you attempt to wash and comb and card them into a spinnable form.

But every once in a while, you get lucky.

Now, I don’t know for certain what kind of wool this is,, but I have a guess.

Acme Mar09 BFL?

Anyone with fleece experience is encouraged to chime in here,, but I’m thinking that this is a BFL or BFLx.

BLF locks, washed

All said, its about 7 inches in length. But the tips are matted, and not worth trying to comb out,so I’m trimming them off and just using The Good Stuff.

BFL locks, trimmed

The Good Stuff is still about 3-4 inches long. Very workable.

And, I tell you what. (dramatic pause)

It is just heaven to spin.

Fine, and soft, and silky, and bouncy.

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Refined and luminous.

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And I have a whole sheep’s worth.

Sheep of the Week: East Friesian

Guess who got a package this week.

Yep. That would be me!

And in that package was a nice little Friesian fleece from Gretchen, of Gretchen’s Wool Mill. Yea!

Friesians are the Cadillac of milk sheep, and are also known for their prolificacy . You can read about more about them here.

I’d never worked with Friesian wool before,, so was mighty anxious to give it a spin (so to speak).

So, here is my experience so far-

The wool in it’s raw state:

Unwahed Fresian

Unwashed Fresian close

It ranges from about 3-4 inches in length. (Gretchen told me it’s usually a bit longer, but they sheared early this year.) Isn’t very greasy, and has a nice bit of crimp. This one is nice and clean,  with no veg to speak of.

Here it is after a bit of a wash-

Washed Fresian

Washed Fresian close

Bright white, and now you can see the luster. It “floofed” out quite a bit in the wash, but the tips remained intact, so it was fairly easy to sort it back out into locks and ditch any short bits.

Flick carded, spun, plied-

Fresian Test Spin

And swatched-

Fresian swatch

It’s a nice strong, sweater wool of medium fineness, I would say.  Has a nice bounce and body to it, and is lustrous, but not silky.

A very satisfying new wool experience.  Should be fun to play with.


Ps: And on a completely unrelated note, I wanted to share with any of you who have dogs, and who might ever have a need to use one of those horrible elizabethan collars for a post-surgical recuperation that THERE IS INDEED A BETTER OPTION.

Here is my poor sweet Bruno, stressed out and driving us all nuts with his icky plastic cone headgear:

Poor Stressed Bruno

And here is the same boy, content and relaxed in an inflatable ProCollar:

Content Bruno

Relaxed Bruno

Ahh. That’s better!

Denise out.

Mother Nature Wins, Field trip Cancelled

I thought I was going to Whidbey Island on Satuday.

I even was in the car, heading out (in the snow) when it finally dawned on me that I should call ahead and see if we were still on for the visit at Mutiny Bay Sheep Farm.

Good thing I called.

Winter weather is still upon us, and the mountain passes were pretty ugly this weekend. Turns out the sheep folks weren’t going to make it back from the east side in time for me to visit as planned.

So I did the sensible thing and turned around. Just couldn’t see making the almost 2 hour drive for just the fiber sale,,,, though I did think about it for a long minute or two (as the snowfall kept thickening). The call of the fleece is mighty strong.

I’m going to try and reschedule for sometime next month, hopefully on shearing day! So that might be even better.

And hopefully I will have a Fresian fleece on the way to my door from Gretchen (of Gretchen’s Wool Mill) sometime this week,, so that might satisfy the raw fleece craving for a bit….

Knit on-


Inspiration from Unlikely Places

When I’m out in public in cool weather, I am often distracted by people wearing interesting sweaters. Sometimes it’s just a texture or a cable pattern I’m drawn to. Other times it’s a neckline, or a color combination, or another interesting feature, like pockets.

I try to log these things away in my little brain, so that I might call upon them later when I’m planning a project.

I had one of those moments on the bus to work earlier this week

There was a guy sitting across the way, and he had a on what looked to be an old-ish, well worn sweater with a couple of minor holes in it. It was light gray with deep red and creamy white “tips” on the collar and sleeves. Double-thickness shawl collar with the red and white on the inside so it showed when it was folded outward.

Very sporty, yet traditional. I was captivated.

I immediately started thinking of what light gray wool I have in the stash.

Gershom, the  Shetland ram. Very fitting.

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But is there enough left? I’ve been using bits of Gershom for all kinds of things – hats, socks, scarves.

I have some other grayish shetland (actually white with black fibers throughout) that I could probably blend it with. Maybe it would be enough.


I’m tempted to call Betty and reserve Gershom’s 09 fleece.

Something about that red/white/gray combo has really captured my imagination for some reason.


(The red in the photo isn’t quite right, I think, but was the best I could do in a pinch. Looks like I’ll have to take a stab at dyeing something for this venture…. perhaps overdying the gray? What do you think?)

BTW- Next weekend is my field trip to Mutiny Bay Farm in on Whidbey Island. Stand by for Black Welsh Mountain sheep!

Denise out-