Taking Account And Looking Around

Life has been interesting around here.   But what it means is that I’m starting to work on things again like spinning, weaving and dog training.  The only thing I seriously seem to have been doing is knitting.

This is the first installment of the Tsock Flock Club called “Fearful Symmetry.”

Check out the tail.  Why are they not done?  Um, I ran out of yarn…  So I decided to start this project.

Bloom mittens!  The first stranded knitting I’ve done in a long long time.  Very successful and whoa does that finnish landrace yarn feel good.  I bought it from RIIHIVILLA.  Along with the mitten yarn I bought some sock yarn and undyed yarn.  Stay tuned for more projects with this stuff.  I’m in love!  Oh and mittens in May you ask, Elizabeth Zimmermann encouraged people to make mittens in May so that you are not making them at the last minute.

Now that the mittens are done its on to the second Tsock kit, Daughter of the Regiment.  This one is easier than the first pattern with the exception of one small area…ahem…and guess where I am!  Yup, I’m there.  So when the going gets tough, the tough casts on another sock!  So I now have 2 sets of socks in progress.  The Tsock and a pair of basic socks in Mountain Colors Bearfoot.  Until I get past this small section on the Tsock I can’t knit it on the train.  And I must have knitting on the train…hence the Bearfoot socks…

I now am the proud owner of a small tapestry loom from Grafton Fibers and a 16″ Ashford rigid heddle loom.  I’m looking forward to warping both of them.

See this, it’s wool, its wool I’m not going to process myself.  I’m shipping it out!  See freedom from a hot stove 🙂  Freedom from the sinking feeling that I have so much to do.  I need to reclaim my basement from the wool because we need to focus on training some dogs.

I need one or two more sets of foam squares and then I’ll be D-O-N-E.  As it is now I can set up Danny for a good broad jump.  Danny says the footing is much better.   We need to pull it all together, but then we will be able to start showing in Open again.  Daisy managed to earn her AKC Rally Excellent this past weekend.  Now I need to decide, do we play more in AKC or just in APDT and UKC rally?  Masi is still cute and still a pain in the butt like any one year old aussie is.  He needs training, badly.

I’ve decided that if I don’t find my Lincoln samples in the next week I’ll make up a new set of samples so I can then find the originals.  Wish me luck!


Finnish Landrace-Versatility is the Name of the Game

Hey, I found the other mitten!

Other than the fact I keep snagging them with my keys, they have stood up the test of time. These are knitted from a Finn/Lincoln in a modified Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern.

Now to the fiber.

Here is a lock of the purebred Finnish Landrace. See the well defined crimp. It was listed by the seller as an uncoated fleece, but not as a lambs fleece so I don’t know if the tip is just from being exposed or not.

This is the combed fiber. I used two row Viking style combs to comb this.

And here is the fiber spun up.

This is the carded fiber. I should have picked this more to get rid of more of the vegetable matter (vm). Not that you can see it, but I sure can.

Here is the spun yarn.

In addition, I managed to find some commercially processed Finn. The fiber in this prep has very little crimp compared to the hand processed fiber.

It was very easy to over spin the fiber when spun directly from the roving.

Overall, I preferred the hand processed fiber, but the commercial roving was no slouch. There is not a huge difference in the yarn between the combed and carded finn. Either way you are going to be pleased. I would not recommend this for baby clothes, nor would I recommend this for rugs. If you have sensitive skin you may not want a pair of finn socks, but a color patterned or cabled sweater would benefit from finns properties.

I’m very pleased overall. I’ve shied awy from finn in the past but I don’t think I will in the future.

It’s spring shearing season and I’m trying hard not to go nuts buying fleeces. Its very hard believe me. But I’ve managed to acquire a couple fleeces of one of my favorite breeds plus I’m working on more of the primitive and down breeds so there is plenty of wool to review in the future.

I just need more time in the day!

Finnish Landrace: Adaptable and Prolific


Originally uploaded by apv2007

My introduction to Finnish Landrace or Finnsheep was by Ron Parker through his herd of crossbred Finn/Lincolns many many years ago when Fibernet was a BBS. I still have yarn and a single lonely mitten from that fleece.   Alas, that herd was dispersed long ago and Ron now lives in Sweden.

Brought into the US in 1966 mainly for one characteristic, the ewes ability to produce and support multiple lambs, Finnsheep has become a popular breed to cross other breeds with. It is one of the progenitor breeds of the Polypay. Originating in the cold northern reaches of Finland, it can live off of rough forage and under both cold and hot conditions.

Finnsheep are related to Romanov, Shetland, and other Nordic short tailed breeds. It has a light carcass, which is not well liked by those producing market lambs. So the reason you see it being used to crossbreed with other breeds is to improve carcass while also improving lamb production.

When you examine the fleece you find a medium wool that has many characteristics of other luster wools. Most Finnsheep are single coated with the odd double coated individual. It has an organized open lock with a gentle wave. While white is the most common color found, some breeders have flocks producing naturally colored wool in black, fawn, grey, and brown as well as several patterns.

The American Finnsheep Breeders Association has a wonderful site focused on handspinning fleeces.

I still wonder where I lost that other mitten…..