As I mentioned in the previous post, I recently took receipt of some yarns from another dyer who is no longer dyeing. I’ve been opening the boxes and learning about various wools.
I have yarns from breeds like Shropshire, Border Leicester, Dorset, Montadale, Cheviot, and some others I don’t recall. Plus an entire box of yarn without any sort of label, note, tag, or other way to know what it is. These are all from an American mill and spun from various sheep raised in the Midwest. They were sorted by boxes, so it’s easy to tell what’s what, but the cones are not uniform amounts.
Most of my commercial yarns come from a supplier who provides fairly equal sized cones, clearly identified as for yardage and weights (i.e., how many yards per pound). These yarns don’t give me much guidance in that direction, so I am taking smaller cones and running them up on my skein-winder to determine how many yards are in however much yarn is on the cone. For example, the box of Montadale came with a ready-made hank at 5 ounces and measured at just under 300 yards. Eighty percent of that length would be 240 yards in 4 ounces. So that’s what I will put into 4 ounce hanks for dyeing. I’m not sure 240 yards in 4 ounces is considered a worsted wt., but that’s the measure I put into the worsted wt. yarns last week.
I know that sounds sort of loosey-goosey and fuzzy, but my personal goal is to be accurate with weight and yardage, never mind if it’s called sport or DK or whatever. This will be a straightforward but somewhat tedious process, and a little slow-going to ensure I am accurate with whatever information I put on the labels.
And unlike my regular yarns, there is likely to be some joins in these yarns, although I will try to keep that at a minimum.
And the other thing — besides figuring out the technical aspects (yardage and weights) I will be exploring what these wools are good for. I’ve already learned that some are good for hats, jackets, shawls, and so forth. These aren’t all next-to-your-skin soft like Merino or Cashmere, so if I’m going to dye these up I want to let you know how these can best be used. None of these are superwash nor are they blended with nylon or other fibers, so I imagine any of them could also be used for felting or weaving.
Here are some pictures of what I’m working with: