tisdag 8 mars 2011

Värmlandsfår. My Fiber Studies 11

I take part in the SpinDoctor Rare Breed Wool Challenge on Ravelry. My blog posts are tagged SpinDoctor. The challenge ends June 30th 2011. You find SpinDoctor's podcasts in my Link List to the right.

The Sheep

There are quite a few sheep that belong to the North European short tailed group of sheep. The Swedish Värmlandsfår is one of them. The sheep all came from the region of Värmland. It was a local farmer, Bengt Sonesson, who started gathering sheep of the same type as those in his flock in the 1950s. Today there are Värmlandsfår in smallholders in many places in Sweden, but it is still an endangered breed. There are only about 2000 left.

In the awesome blog Fale Artut you can see both the sheep and wonderful batts, yarns and garments made from this wool. The blog is in Swedish, but there are great photos. My wool samples are from those lucky sheep, thanks to Ingrid in Sweden.

The Wool

The wool is grey/black, brown or white, or piebald. The wool is fine to harsh. It's an interesting wool for handspinners. Depending on what type the fleece is there is a wide range of textiles you can make from it, starting with mittens, socks, sweaters and ending with upholstery.

My Experience

I got two wool samples from Ingrid. The wool was very clean with no vegetable matter. I scoured it before carding.

Sample one, black

Preparation: hand carding

Spinning wheel: Louet Victoria
Spinning ratio: 1:13
WPI in singles: about 28 on my WPI tool
Plying ratio: 1:13

The wool was very silky and felt soft, but when I handcarded and spun it I found that the silkyness hid steel under it. Not that it was harsh, but it's a very strong fiber. It would be a good sock yarn. I spun it woolen into a 2-ply yarn. It sheds small black bits of wool, but that would stop when using it.

Sample two, light brown

Preparation: drumcarding

Spinning wheel: Louet Victoria
Spinning ratio: 1:6
WPI in singles: about 22 on my WPI tool.
Plying ratio: 1:8.5

This wool felt coarser than the black.

I spun a woolen draw, not quite a long draw but about half the length of my arm. I found that the best way was to slightly stretch out the batt and roll it lengthwise and start spinning from one end. The machine carded batt has a direction, so it's good to try the other end if the first one feels awkward. I spun a 2-ply I thought would be good in a hat.

Sample three, light brown

The same prep and ratio as the second yarn. I spun a singles a bit thicker. This yarn could be used in weaving for cloth or a thin blanket. As a 2-ply it would make a thicker blanket.

Sample four, light brown

I plied a few meters of what was left on the bobbin into an overtwisted 2-ply. I folded the yarn in two and let it twist into a 4-strand cable yarn. This would make a strong, thick weaving yarn for a rug.
                        Scoured locks, sample two, three and four

So, what do I think? A fiber with lots of possibilities, an interesting fiber, a fiber that needs to be worked with from fleece in my opinion. Every time I work with fibers like these I think I should have a loom...

Read more


Fale Artut