Breed Experiments – Washing Machine

March 13th, 2019

Part of the reason for these spinning experiments is to discover which fibres are okay going through the washing machine.  I know everyone will shout “None of them!” at me, but I have faith in the “Wool Wash” setting and what’s the worst that happens?

So here are the 8 fibre squares after a gentle soak and lying flat.  Each square is started with worsted, then swap to woolen half way, to test both preparations.  In these photos the woolen is on the left, worsted on the right.

Top row: BFL, Shetland, Corriedale, Charollais. Bottom row: Finnish, Falkland, Gotland, Polwarth.

I put them in the washing machine with all my hand knit socks on the usual wool wash setting, though I turned down the temperature to 30 degrees, the coldest it will go.  Some detergent but no conditioner (as I read recently that was bad for wool).  The results are… boring!  Nothing happened… everything came out clean and looking much as it started!

At this point I realised I wasn’t going to have quite enough yarn from the 8 I had spun for the cardigan, so I purchased 3 more braids which you’ve already seen.  Here are the initial swatches from those: Eider, Ile de France and Merino/Bamboo

Time to try the washing machine again, this time on the standard “Wool Wash” which runs at 40 degrees and has been washing our hand knit socks for years.  This time with fabric softener too.  The results?  Much the same!

The squares still show no signs of felting.  The stitches are all visible, the squares all maintain their stretchiness.  So, hooray for the washing machine, but it did make for rather an unexciting post!  I think I will keep throwing these in with each sock wash and see if there’s any interesting results over multiple washes in case some fibres do stand up better than others over time :o)

Breed Experiments – Merino 70/30 Bamboo

March 11th, 2019

The final braid from Ewenique Fibres was chosen because I knew it would be super soft and be a good choice for the collar of the cardigan I’m making with all these :o)

The fibre was a little hard to pre-draft but also very soft.  The bamboo fibres are quite “fly away” and wanted to stick to me!

The colour variations across the braid matched up pretty well in the worsted spinning, so you can see the variation.  The bamboo stands our against the purple as a lovely shimmery white.

As there wasn’t all that much variation in the colours I opted to just make 4 larger rolags of mixed colours for the woolen spin.

This second spin definitely blended the colours and fibres together more.  The finished yarn here is a mostly consistent colour and the bamboo shimmer is more contained.

Both fibres are super soft still, but I do like the way the bamboo blended in once in the rolags.  It was easier to spin too as I wasn’t getting the bamboo stuck to my hands/skirt/everywhere! :o)

Breed Experiments – Ile de France

March 11th, 2019

The second braid from Ewenique Fibres is this Ile de France.  The peach colour is a little out of character with the rest of my yarns, but I think it will be okay :o)

The fibre was quite a challenge to pre-draft, but then it spun up very nicely and consistently :o)

I even managed to line up the colours pretty well across the two halves!

On the blending board with the second half I split the colours:

There was a little extra fibre left, I’m not sure how I missed it when I was making these, hence the 7th muddled one!  I only managed 6 rolags as the fibre was quite challenging to work with.

Somehow I completely failed to line up the colours even though it looked perfect on the bobbins!  Oh well :o)


Breed Experiments – Eider

March 4th, 2019

The next fibre is actually from a different seller on Etsy!  This Eider braid came from Ewenique Fibres.  This is not a breed I had heard of before so I was eager to try it!

The colours are beautiful! :o)  The braid is a lot denser than the other I’ve been working with recently.  Pre-drafting took a bit more effort than I expected thanks to the compacted fibres.

Once I’d done the prep work it was a very nice easy spin.  The fibre is reasonably soft too :o)

Working on the blending board with the more compact fibres was again a little challenging, but didn’t hinder my rolag making too much!

There’s not a great deal of variance in the colours to split them up across the board – I tried to get the lighter colours on one side and the bluer ones at the other side, which you can kind of see.

I didn’t manage to line up my colours so well with these, but the finished yarn is still pretty :o)  My consistency is getting better with the woolen techniques, slowly!

Breed Experiments – Polwarth

February 1st, 2019

The final braid from The Shepherd’s Hut was some lovely soft Polwarth in what turned out to be a bit of a pink colour way.  The photos looked a little more purple on Etsy, but the description did say pink.

This fibre was wonderful to draft and spin with a worsted short draw – lovely and soft and well behaved :o)


On the blending board I tried putting less fibre on and only make 2 rolags at a time, which I think was easier to do.  Though obviously makes it a little harder to keep my rolags all matching.


Whilst spinning this with a long draw it was really quite adamant about being spun thinner than I intended.  Although given the colour is so much lighter than my others I suspect it won’t be making it into the crazy cardigan at the end so I wasn’t trying particularly hard to fight against it.  The yarn is wonderfully soft! :o)

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Breed Experiments – Gotland

January 29th, 2019

This Gotland braid in “Party Popper” from The Sherpherd’s Hut was rather brighter than I was expecting!  A lot of bright pink!

The fibre drafted and spun beautifully, and the pinks and purples mingled really nicely :o)


On the blending board it behaved well, even though I forgot to actually take a photo of the rolags, they were good I promise!

My woolen spinning is definitely getting more consistent with practise and I managed to get the colours to line up pretty well again :o)


Breed Experiments – Falkland

January 25th, 2019

More fibre from The Shepherd’s Hut, this time it is some Falkland in ‘Pink Purple’ :o)

Another easy spin with this one – drafted nicely for a quick and fairly even worsted spin :o)

The colours are more patchy on this one, and whilst I lined up the colours it hasn’t created any large matched sections.

On the blending board it wasn’t easy to decide how to spread the fibres since the colours are so mixed together.  I did manage some colour separation though :o)  I struggled a little removing the rolags but I think that was just me having a silly moment!

I ended up with 7 rolags and remembered to use the scales to split them up this time :o)

Ended up with just a few inches extra on one bobbin compared to the other!  Never matched so well before :o)

My woolen spinning is still less even than worsted, but I’m sure that’s just because I need more practise with the technique.  The fibre was behaving nicely as there were moments when it spun beautifully.  Then I’d be distracted by the TV and it would get lumpy again ;o)

Breed Experiments – Finnish

January 21st, 2019

The next order of fibre arrived from The Shepherd’s Hut last week and the first one I grabbed was this beautiful Finnish in “Butterfly Wings” :o)

This was really easy to spin and just drafted really consistently.  Once I noticed how nicely it was spinning I actually took a little more time over it to make sure I was being as consistent as possible :o)

The final yarn has lovely colour separation and impressive consistency for me :o)  I really enjoyed this spin!

Making rolags was a much more pleasant experience with this after that naughty Charollais!  I managed to spread the colours out pretty well and made my usual 8 rolags :o)

Unfortunately I forgot to weigh them before spinning and ended up with quite a bit more on one bobbin than the other.  Thank goodness for Andean Plying so I could get all the way to the end even if it did mess up the colours a bit.

The colours aren’t quite as well separated with this one, and the consistency isn’t as good either – but I think that’s more down to me needing more practise with long draw than with the fibre! :o)

This one suffered from blue leakage again :o(  I had very blue hands from the spinning and the sink confirmed it.  Thankfully only 3 washes required this time to get it running clear enough at least! ;o)

Breed Experiments – Charollais

January 17th, 2019

The last of my first set of fibres from The Shepherd’s Hut is this Charollais

The individual fibres have an interesting crimp to them which makes it feel really sproingy and stretchy!

This weird stretchiness actually made it rather challenging to spin for me.  The fibres just wanted to stretch rather than draft out neatly.  Plus the ply back tests all looked kinda weird whilst I was spinning the singles.  Thankfully it actually plied up nicely despite the oddity :o)  It only just all fit on my bobbin which was a surprise!  I didn’t actually weigh this yet so maybe I have more than 50g?  Or maybe all that bounce has made fatter yarn?


The second half I put on the blending board, and then regretted it somewhat.  These fibres did not want to come off the blending board easily!  Nor was there much variation in colour to spread out on the board.

I ended up with 4 rather fat, dense rolags rather than my usual 8.  At least I did manage to get it off in the end ;o)

I opted for a long draw again which was slightly easier than my short backward draw for the first half, although quite uneven in places.

Another very full bobbin after plying – this fibre is definitely a weird one!  I’m not sure it will be usable in the final project as it is quite a bit thicker than the others at present.  I’ll have to see how it feels once washed :o)

Breed Experiments – Corriedale

January 16th, 2019

The third braid from The Shepherd’s Hut is this lovely Corriedale in ‘Purple Gem’

These fibres have a slight crimp to them and it was incredibly easy to spin!  I felt like I was spinning at super speed as it was drafting really consistently so I very rarely had to slow down or stop to fix a thick or thin section.  Lovely! :o)


On to the blending board with the second half and I used a similar method to last time, with all the deep purple on the left and lighter purple to the right.

There wasn’t quite so much colour differentiation here, but the rolags do clearly have a dark end and light end :o)

I used my alternating ends of the rolags trick again to make the sections of colour larger to give me more opportunity for them to line up.  I also tried using an actual woolen spin with something resembling a long draw.  It was a little tricky to start with so it’s not exactly a consistent spin in places, but it has certainly made fluffier yarn!

Fluffy yarn! I have yet to decide if this is a good thing or not ;o)  I suspect an actual knitting sample will be required too see if that fluffiness is soft or itchy.  Liking the sections of colour though and this really was fast and easy to spin :o)