Deb Robson: What wools are fast and easy to spin?

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This week, we have the pleasure of hosting spinner extraordinaire and sheep breed expert, Deb Robson to our Spinzilla guest blog tour. Deb took a mini break from writing her next book, “Dreaming of Shetland”  to answer some questions for Spinzilla about sheep breeds that produce wool that is EASY and FAST to spin!

Here is a teaser snippet of what Deb’s blog will cover:

  • What wools are good for experienced spinners to spin quickly?
  • What wools are good for beginning spinners to learn on?

Deb robson

The breeds I’m about to suggest share the following characteristics, for the most part (some individual fleeces from these breeds will go outside these ranges)

 

  • fiber lengths in the vicinity of 4 inches (10 cm), more or less (around 3 to max 6 inches, 7.5 to 15 cm)

  • moderate fiber diameters (nothing too delicate or too wiry-strong, I’m talking 28 to 37 microns, more or less, although you won’t have that information handy; just trust that the breeds I’m going to mention are in that ballpark)

  • moderate crimp (since a little elasticity is a good thing in this case, and a lot of it can be more demanding)

  • open staples (even when you’re starting with processed wool and won’t see this directly, as in top or roving, this quality ends up making a difference)

 

In the 1970s, when spinning was being “rediscovered” by a bunch of us, there was something called “wool for handspinning” which fit that description. That was before spinners had “rediscovered” that they could spin just about any fiber that came down the line, if they wanted to, and so now, if you want to be accurate, just about any wool is “wool for handspinning” (the felted stuff—not so much; otherwise—fair game). The “suitable for handspinners” label, smelling faintly of mothballs, does still sometimes show up in descriptions of wools.

 

But there’s something to that package of qualities. These are wools that beg to be spun by hand, without requiring much of the spinner. If you’re new to the wheel or spindle, they’ll support your efforts. If you’re experienced, you’ll be able to crank your equipment to the max and stay relaxed.

Get the FULL answers by reading Deb’s blog post on September 4th, 2013 her site: http://independentstitch.typepad.com/

AND, look for Deb’s new book “Dreaming of Shetland”

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