52 Weeks of Sheep: Polwarth

The breed for the week of January 8 is Polwarth. Now, I am a known snob about LOTS of stuff – yarn, chocolate, tea, fabric, and now that I have started working with wool straight off the sheep and using Valkyrie Superfine combs, I’m also a Wool Snob with a preference for “real” wool.

Commercially prepared fiber has usually gone through a chemical process to remove vegetable matter and whiten the fibers and generally has no life left in it when compared to hand-prepared fiber. (In my opinion, the quality of the wool used in commercially prepared top isn’t going to be as high as wool purchased locally, and especially not as high as wool coming from a spinner’s flock.) While I would have preferred to work with fleece for this study, all I had in my stash was 106 grams of commercially-prepared undyed top. I spun about 13 grams of it in my normal go-to thin weight. (I didn’t spend as much time as I should have spinning the Polwarth because I was combing the Texel fleece for next week’s breed.)

There really isn’t much to say about it – after working with hand-washed and hand-combed top, most commercially-prepared 100% wool top feels pretty much the same to me. I’m going to keep my eye out for some Polwarth fleece to sample properly.

Polwarth is very similar to Merino, so that’s how I treated it. As I spun, I wasn’t really enjoying the top too much. There was kind of a resistance to the “grain” of it so I began working from the other end and it was much nicer.

I think I put too much twist in the single so the finished 2-ply isn’t balanced but the chain ply looks nice.

Finished Polwarth handspunIMG_3638

If you found this interesting, check out the Facebook group for 52 Weeks of Sheep.

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