I have carded some of my Swedish Finewool sheep wool the last few weeks. It’s incredibly soft! I dyed it last summer, but haven’t had time to prepare it for spinning until now. The Swedish Finewool sheep is one of Sweden’s national breeds, developed from old Swedish fine woolled sheep with a little bit of help from Finnish landrace (aka Finnsheep aka Finn) rams and some Norwegian breeds at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s a rare breed nowadays, wish I shouldn’t have to use the word “rare” so often when I talk about sheep! I also carded what was left of a batch of Kainuu Grey wool. Yes, it’s a very rare sheep…
As always, I got tired of doing just one thing, so I still have all of the blue fleece to card. And I also got out of storing space! Carded wool can’t be pressed down into plastic bags just like that, it needs a lot of storing space. I hope you can see through the plastic bag how crimpy this wool is. It takes a lot of time and effort to tame it into spinnable rolags. I open it on the drum carder in 3-4 passes, and hand card into rolags. Spinning is pure joy! I spin the way I love the best: long draw on my Swedish Saxony.
I also finally finished two spindle shafts I made last year. I wasn’t satisfied with them, so I took my knife and sandpaper and made some improvements. They work fine now. The whorls are made by a Swedish ceramic artist and spinner, Lena Bergsman of Rostocks Keramik. You find her on Facebook.
We’re still waiting for spring. You may have heard of the Walpurgis Night, the celebration of spring here in Scandinavia and some other European countries. It’s supposed to be warm, sunny, green, and the spring flowers should be blooming. But not so this year! This is what we woke up to yesterday morning all over Scandinavia:
So we’re still waiting. Meanwhile, I give the birds some wool for their nests:
It’s been a rather hectic January. I had articles to write, and a spindling class to start planning, but I have also spun, crocheted and knit. I want to show you some of what I’ve done.
In the autumn I suddenly saw how I should knit a sweater I’ve been thinking of for a while. I spun the yarns from different fibers, mostly Swedish Finull but also Merino, silk, and cotton nepps during several years without a special project in mind. One day, as so often happens, I picked through my yarns in search for something, and saw these skeins together in my mind, laid them out, and started the sweater later that day. Here it is:
I also took part in a spin-together event in the Swedish spinning group on Ravelry. I spun green, lilac, blue, and red fine 2-ply yarns from Swedish Finull. I dyed the wool last spring, and carded it during the summer. The grey and black skeins are Norwegian Pelssau, a very nice and soft wool. The yarns are part of a project where I try to spin different fibers on different tools, trying to make yarns I can use together. I used one of my old Finnish Saxony wheels, Louet Victoria, and Hansen Minispinner for these and the brown and red skeins below. The yarns in the sweater where spun on Kromski Symphony, Louet Victoria, and Hansen Minispinner, and they are much thicker.
The red skeins has company from a natural brown Finull skein.
I wanted to test the yarns i one of my favourite techniques, tapestry crochet. This purse is now on its way to a spinning and dyeing friend in Sweden:
The sheep are my version of stranded knitting sheep you can find in many patterns. I already know my friend likes them, even if she doesn’t know they are hers. I showed the purse on Facebook the same day I had sent the package, and got a positive comment from her. I hope she’ll be happy when she opens the parcel! She’s a skilled dyer. As you can see, the colours in my yarns are uneven, which is what I’m after when I dye. I think it makes the finished item more vivid.
This is an experiment: white cotton and purple silk noils. I had a high quality cotton sliver that I wasn’t able to spin into a nice yarn. So, with an aching heart, I took my hand carders and turned it into punis. I had just seen Sarah Anderson blending cotton and silk, so I wanted to give it a try. I’ll use it as an effect yarn in a woven scarf one day.
I’m looking out on a white world. We have snow, which is wonderful this time of the year. It makes the world lighter. The morning sun gives a golden glow to both snow and creatures!
I’m still exploring six Nordic Short Tailed sheep breeds’ wool: Finn, Kainuu Grey and Åland sheep from Finland, and Finull, Gotland and Värmland sheep from Sweden. I have now spun a few samples of Finn, Finull and Värmland. I hope to continue next week with Gotland and more Värmland.
Finn and Finull are so similar that I’m not capable of distinguishing their fleeces or yarns from each other. That goes for all of the colors. Both breeds come in white (main color), brown and black. This is Finull. It could be Finn as well, but luckily I had tagged the photos:
If you haven’t already noticed: Kasper is always helping me. I love that dog.
The hand of the two wools is also the same. Soft, nice, much of it is next-to-skin wool, but there are also more robust fleeces. It’s wool that can be used for many purposes from soft baby clothes to blankets, upholstery and even rugs. It’s often short here in Scandinavia as the sheep are sheared twice a year. 5-7 cm is an average.
Värmland is another type of wool. I will return to it later, so let’s only mention it’s a primitive type of wool. Double coat, everything from very soft to harsh. All colors from white to black. A very interesting wool, as primitive wools often are. This is an older photo of Värmland I spun a couple of years ago. The triangular lock structure tells you there’s both long guard hair and soft undercoat. The guard hair can be picked or combed out if you want two different kinds of yarn from the same fleece.
I have written about Kainuu Grey here.
Half of Wovember is gone. I have loved reading the Wovember blog (link in the Blogroll).
Maybe I should honor Tom of Holland by mending something, and also showing some of my mended socks in another post. Yes, I think I will.