I have developed a bit of an interest in spinning different breeds of wool (especially rare or old breeds). So in keeping with my habit of using my blog as a brain dump; I have decided to post about my adventures with different types of wool here. Unfortunately we don’t have many rare breeds of sheep in my local area (that I know about) so I have had to buy some fleece or tops to experiment with.
My first excursion into the wilds of sheep breeds/wool types is with Gotland locks. When I received my little package of 400g Gotland locks in the mail (Found online at Australian Spinners and Weavers on Facebook) and opened it to discover some very well scoured locks with a beautiful crimp (thanks Gary Sheen). My initial impression was it is a lovely, soft and stretchy wool that reminded me a little of mohair.
The Gotland sheep is a rare breed which originated on the Swedish island of Gotland when the Vikings bought Karakul and Romanov sheep back from expeditions into Russia and bred them over Gute sheep which were native to the area. The resulting sheep were used for just about everything a sheep can be used for; wool, pelt and meat. The wool is supposed to be curly and soft with a long staple (the length of single locks of wool is the staple length) of up to 30 cm. The locks I got in my package are more crimped than curled, but they are wonderfully soft and about 20cm long. There are many different colours in the package, from silver white through several greys to a dark chocolate brown.I decided to hand card the locks in their individual colours so I can later knit something in a fair isle style (in keeping with the general Norse theme) using the different colours. The locks fluff up a lot when carded, in fact I have learned to put just one lock on the carders at a time so the fluffy mass stays manageable.
The soft, fluffy rolags spin up into a lovely fluffy single which I will ply loosely into a woolly two ply yarn.
I think I will make something for next to the skin wear with this yarn. I almost want to go and buy myself some Gotland sheep after this experience.
Update; This is the resulting three colours from my Gotland wool. All ready to be washed and knitted into mittens.