Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Katahdin fleece review. YST episode 86

This is not a rare breed, or even a breed of sheep commonly used for their fleece. However, a coworker raises these sheep and when she handed me a small bag of wool from her sheep, I promised her I would try spinning it. And as I often do, I shared the experience with my listeners in a podcast.

This breed is raised for meat, often by small farm owners. It's known as a hair sheep along with several other breeds because their fleece contains obvious thicker hairs all through the fleece. Another key factor is that they shed their fleece (known as rooing) which is a great benefit for small farm owners that can not get a shearer in for a small flock, or shear the sheep themselves.

Here's a link to a good website for information on the breed.

http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep/katahdin/

I try to do my fleece reviews in a similar format, by using washed fiber, carding some and combing some. When I did this for this fleece, it became very interesting to find how it removed many of the hairs, in the combed fiber, but incorporated those hairs into the carded batt. When I spun my sample singles, the combed was mostly smooth, and the carded spun much thicker and showed lots of spikes of the hair.

I decided to leave the singles on the bobbins awhile (OK, so I did have to get the holidays over)and then knit something to show off the different textures. I knit straight from the bobbins, with very little problem with twist. The small sample skeins taken at the end of the singles after knitting do twist up, so there's still excess twist there. It just did not interfere with the knitting, since the single sat on the bobbin awhile.

Now I am quite use to handling wool, and to my fingers this fleece did not feel scratchy, unlike what you would think looking at it. Of course I did not knit a wearable item, instead I knit a small coaster.

In the photos you can see the singles on the two bobbins, one combed and one carded. The second photo shows the coaster with sample skeins. The center of the coaster is knit with the combed, smooth single, and the edging is knit with the thicker carded single. I used the same size needles, the edging looks thicker, because the single was thicker.

With all the wonderful fleeces in a spinner's world, I am sure there would not bea reason to do a whole fleece of this breed. However it was very interesting to work up this sample, for my sheep breed file.





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