Soay-An Experiment in Patience

I manged to get some Soay fiber from Amelia Carlson.  She was able to send me a small amount of fiber from one of her own animals and one from another farm.  And as a result I got both types of fleece.  This fiber was challenging, but not as challenging as I feared it would be.  The short staple being its biggest challenge with the slippery hairs in addition.  Actually the hairs in the fibers spun up  quite nicely.

Here is the hairy type.

And the back of this looks like

Here is the wooley type.

Most of the vegetable matter fell out of these locks during processing.  It was very short, somewhere around a one inch staple for each of these.  I first tried one of my smaller spindles and found I could fairly easily spin both types of fiber on it.

But before I show you yarn, let me show you this.

That is hair on the left, and a partially dehaired lock on the right.  Last time I dehaired something like this was some Scottish Highland Cattle I once dehaired.  This is not recommended way of processing Soay unless you have lots of time and really good light.

So I took these two types of fleeces then carded and combed each type.  First the hairy fleece.


And combed.  No attempt to remove the hair was made, but you can see that the combed version is less hairy than the carded.  Plus all the light colored tips seemed to have been separated out.

Now for the woolly type of Soay fleece.

Once again carded.

And combed.  This fleece was nicer to work with, but not exactly something I would want to wear next to my skin.  I am planning on making some sort of amulet bag out of what I spun.

Just to remind you, the staple length on this fiber is around 1″ it is very short and I seriously considered using my charka for it, but one of my lighter Bosworth spindles handled it nicely.

I would suggest trying Soay, but I do not recommend planning a big project for it unless you are reenacting or replicating an artifact.  Spinning a large amount will be challenging to your patience.  But it is fun to try to play with something that has not genetically changed as much as many other sheep breeds have changed.

In other news, I’m working like a mad woman.  It is insane at my day job right now.  Soon it will return to a dull roar, but not for a few more weeks.

Mas is doing well.  He passed his herding instinct test with flying colors.

See small black puppy take after his Daddy and chase sheep!

He turns 5 months old tomorrow…which means I need some more pictures of him!  These pictures are now a month old.

Oh oh oh…and looky what I got from my Spunky Pal on Ravelry!

Wow!  What a haul.  That white ball in the corner is Sea Silk and the reddish roving is pygora and a longwool blended.  If you are on Ravelry you can check out the swap results here.

I’m drinking a toast to everyone who is at or going to be at SOAR.  I’ll be honest I’m jealous, but I want to be there next year!  I guess I better start saving money now.


2 thoughts on “Soay-An Experiment in Patience

  1. Great pictures! The hairy Soay was shorn (thus all the hair coat is in it), while the woolly Soay was combed/brushed/plucked, leaving most of the hair coat on the animal. Both came from the same breeding stock, the shorn from a ewe and the plucked/etc from my own wether Meteor. So folks out there looking for Soay fiber could ask if it was shorn or plucked — plucked is probably more historically accurate, too.

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