25 January 2014

2014 Fiber Challenge: January/Suffolk (HERDWICK)

One of my craft related resolutions at the beginning of this month was to experiment with a wider variety of fibers and to keep notes on what I thought of them.  At the moment I have four small quantities of fibers I haven't ever spun or even handled in their raw state before.  This includes cotton, which I've been playing around with a little since I got it.  Not promising.  Lots of swearing.  But more on that later.

My first entry will be Suffolk.  Now, Suffolk is primarily a meat breed, and so the fiber is very coarse.  Generally, I'm told, it's used for outdoor blankets or rugs, and I can see why.  It's scratchy and sturdy, and reminds me a little of butcher's twine.  It's also pretty easy to spin up; properly pre-drafted, it doesn't break off (at least in the section I spun last night, which is about a third of the amount I have. 

Now, as I said, normally Suffolk is not used for fine garments such as shawls, but I have a special all handspun shawl that I'm working on, and I'll be using at least a portion of the Suffolk in it, even if it's just a stripe.  Here are some pictures of the wool, both spun and unspun.

Maybe I'll try to do one new fiber per month or something along those lines; I suspect it will take me the whole month to complete the cotton, if I can do it while holding on to my sanity...

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