Fiber Corner

Daily life of a knitting designer/publisher of handknitting patterns

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Breed Sheets

Not too much spinning for projects has been going on around here lately. But, I have been filling out breed sheets for all the accumulated fleeces. Breed sheets? It's a way to document the different ways to process and spin the fleece. I can't take credit for it at all, as I'm just following Patsy's advice and using the form she gave us in her class. Quite honestly, I didn't fill out the card last year on the 2 fleeces I had--did the sampling but didn't write anything down and now can't remember a thing about it (except liking the results of flicking the Perendale). So, this year I decided to get busy so I could document the "year of the fleece".

Here are all the basic supplies used--handcards, mini-combs, flicker, a mini-niddy, crimp counter, notebook, WPI gauge and hole punch.
A dirty lock is saved so it can be examined and compared to the clean lock. Then basic measurements are written down. For each method of processing, at least 6 sample yarns are kept (2 ply--soft, average, and hard twists, 3 ply, 4 ply and cable). Sometimes I like to add a 2 ply in a different grist, too, just to see the difference. The WPI of the single is recorded (you can see I forgot to mark down what it was for the flicked locks) in case you want to duplicate a particular yarn. It usually takes about 1.5 hrs to fill out one of these sheets and I've found it a helpful exercise. Generally, one method of processing and spinning is clearly the winner. The only time that hasn't happened is with the long wools like the Gotland. They remain an enigma to me.
When I'm finished filling out the card, I usually spin a mini-skein with what's left on the bobbin. Here they are wound on a ring (another Patsy idea). From left to right are BFL/BL/Icelandic, Cheviot (this is really Kerry's fleece but she gave me a few ozs to play with), Corriedale (Hope), 3 skeins of Corriedale (Misha--unfortunately, the color didn't translate at all well because it's very, very silver grey and not brown at all. But, you can see the variation in the fleece, the first large skein is just randomly spun from all the shades, the middle one is the lightest silver, and the 3rd one includes the next darker shade), Gotland lamb, Icelandic/BFL, Perendale, Polwarth, Shetland from Shetland, Wensleydale.

Currently on the Traveller is some 80% Coopworth/20% Silk from Hidden Valley in a color called Moody Blues. This stuff is so nice to spin. I'm making a woolen singles (28 WPI) to use for a remake of the Faroese shawl I knit last winter.
Anybody know the name of the flower at the beginning of the post? It was a volunteer in my garden this spring. Guess the seed must have been dropped by a bird or something. It didn't have the look of a weed so I let it grow up and flower. Boy, am I ever glad I did.


At 7:24 AM, Anonymous CarolineF said...

Wow, I'm impressed with your fleece documentation. I'm even a year behind on my FO diary. I just can't keep up. It makes me want to go down in the basement and comb something.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Denise said...

Vicki, the flower looks like a campanula (latin for 'little bell'). They're pretty ready volunteers too.
You can see more here:

Your breed sample notebook is amazing!

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Spinny Bunt said...

Flowers look like Canterbury Bells, which is likely what Denise said, only she said it better. You are too organized for words. Would you come up here and do that with my fleeces too? Please?

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

I'm in awe of your organizational skills ... and your patience! What a wonderful refernce you are building. Moody Blues looks very nice.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger June said...

Wow Vicki! What an awesome task you have set for yourself! (If I am remembering correctly, you have quite a few fleeces in your closet don't you!?) lol - that is only meant as a joke. I wish I were more organized, but, for now just spinning at the same single ply thickness has been enough for me!

At 3:41 PM, Blogger vanessa said...

holey moley, i am impressed!


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