First of all, I know I still need to do the demo on merino preparation. Please be patient, I’m still chasing down the information for merino. I think I’m going to need Roo to help me get all the “ducks” in a row, or at least a circle, sigh.
Let’s start easy at first. With washed locks of Icelandic.
I have a couple lovely Icelandic fleeces I purchased this past spring. I have washed them and now I’m looking at the locks as they are after washing. I separate one out and they look like this:
I really wish the black photographed better, it has a nice luster.
Just using my fingers, I separated the longer and coarser tog fibers from the shorter and finer thel fibers.
The separation of the two fibers is better, but it is tedious and time consuming.
The next logical progression was to comb the fibers. I own several sets of combs including some Indigo Hound single row Viking combs. I lashed on some of the black and went to town. Here is the tog:
Here is a closeup of the rolled up top:
See the white fibers and how thick they are? They are about average of the rest of the fibers in the bundle.
Here is what was left on the combs, mostly thel:
See how I had problems pulling it from the combs. The shorter the fiber, the harder pulling the top. Here is the closer look:
There are still some strands of tog, but mainly shorter pieces of tog and the thel. Certainly combing is much much faster, but a different product if you are looking to separate the coarser fibers from the finer fibers.
Here are pictures of spun tog:
When I work with this my mind is screaming RUG!
And here is the spun thel:
Now, the lighter colored fleece is finer, but I still would avoid using for anything next to the skin.
Okay, now for the more familiar lopi:
Lopi is both tog and thel carded together. No combs involved. This combination can be drafted into a surprisingly thin and stable roving. I didn’t do that here, but you can buy it as pencil roving and knit directly with it.
Obviously Lopi is better for sweaters and outerwear. Think of thick outwear that can be fulled to make it more wind-proof.
This is a very short tour of what can be done with Icelandic wool. Adding fulling to woven or knitted items opens a while other dimension to what can be done with it.
On a personal note, I have finished spinning the now infamous Shetland/Shetland blend and have cast on for my handspun PI Shawl!
I would have liked to be working on a lace scarf, but honestly I cannot see well enough to knit with lace weight yarn with just the map light on in the van. So the larger gauge and familiar pattern is a welcome change from the endless rows of lace.
I plan to finish the scarf first. Let’s see if that happens, though. The scarf if my “learning” project from Heirloom Knits. I need to decide on a border and pray I have enough yarn for the entire project. Its some of Abby Franquemont’s hand dyed lace-weight yarn in the “Autumn Stroll” colorway. But seriously look at this picture and tell me it wasn’t the ideal knitting for this place.
Ahhhhh, Door County in the off-season is a beautiful place.