Well, the day has finally arrived. There were a few delays (and sometimes USPS lied about your delivery status) for our yarn club members, but our spinning club members had to be extra patient as we re-shipped their boxes because the bag containing their original packages was completely misplaced (we eventually got them back earlier this week)! While most members have been already begun spinning with this month's featured roving, we were waiting on one straggler to arrive overseas before we posted our reveal. The box has been claimed after being involuntarily held hostage at customs and the wool within, we're told, is having a wonderful time.
We wanted to start off by saying thank you, spinners. You've been incredibly patient, and as a community you've stopped yourself from spoiling any of the fun for the other Fiberistas in the club by resisting the urge to post your box contents on social media.
Now, on with Part 1 of the feature fiber presentation . . .
The Theme: I Love Sheep
There are so many glorious types of wool out in the universe, and we really wanted to showcase some of our favorites this month.
Most spinners we know learn and regularly spin with the very best known wool type in the entire world. Come on, say it with us - the M.A.G.I.C.A.L. MERINO!
Merino wool is popular for a lot of reasons. First, most spinners have evolved from the world of knitting or crochet with a desire to control their own yarn destiny. Since merino is featured in a lot of luxury yarns, whether on its own or in a blend, it's known my name and readily recognizable. Secondly, merino is relatively easy to spin, particularly when you're learning how to draft wool utilizing a variety of techniques, as well as manipulate the amount of twist you're applying to the fibers. The not-to-long-and-not-to-short staple length makes merino the Goldilocks of the wool world. This also means merino is a great base for blending, which is generally extension from beginning spinner to intermediate. Lastly, it's so frickin' soft! Merino is the wool that changed your mind about wool being itchy and uncomfortable. You never really forget the experience, and so it becomes a go-to for spinners of all experience levels.
As we all know, one of the main objectives of Fiberista Club is to expand your fiber knowledge. It's easy to buy only your favorite fiber in your favorite color and in your favorite yarn weight. We strive to take you beyond your habits and your comfort zone.
To execute this goal this month, we decided to feature eight different breeds of wool in our January Spinning Box. Here's the roundup.
All eight wool varieties featured in our spinning club box this month were paired into complimentary couples based on their individual characteristics. Each wool was then dyed for us by a local fiber artist here in Chicago, who created the coordinating colors based on our mood boards (and persnickety expectations).
56's English & Finnish
56's English wool is not a pure wool per say. Rather, it's a blend of various white English sheep breeds that come together in perfect unison to create a great, bulky fiber. The actual diameter of the fiber is quite high at 33 microns, which is what creates such a warm, dense yarn. It's actually surprisingly soft, too, and provides a fabulous foundation for blending if you're looking for a heftier base fiber for yarn. At a 90mm staple length, it also is a great cousin to most popular wool breeds you may find sitting around in your stash, so it's easy to graduate to this fiber even if you're a beginner.
There were many color options to choose from, but we were looking for something that represented the coolness of the cool palette (did we really just write that?), so we decided on a variegated dye job consisting of turquoise and violet.
It only seemed appropriate to pair this lovely wool with a counterpart on the completely other side of the spectrum. If you haven't tried Finnish roving or yarn before, we're here to let you know you're missing out!
Finnish wool is surprisingly soft. Actually, it's downright deceiving. If you placed some merino and Finnish wool next to one another and did a "get a feel of this" test, we're pretty sure the Finnish might actually win. The bonus? Finnish wool has a little more of a luster than merino does, so even when it is undyed, it seems to have a little bit of sheen, even in its natural gray, brown, and black colors. The staple length is a tad shorter than the 56's English it was paired with, but if one decided to blend both of them together before spinning, you're in for a treat!
We decided the best presentation for Finnish wool this month was au naturel.
Dorset Horn & Shetland
When we say sheep, if a cute little guy with curled-in horns comes to mind, then this is the breed for you. Dorset Horn sheep are extremely rare, so spinning this fiber make for a great treat!
The fiber itself is dense and has an irregular crimp, which makes a little more of a challenge to spin - it has a moderate will of its own!
An even yarn can and will be produced with enough skill and patience. The fiber is also really dense, so its super warm, even in the lightest of weights.
This unique fiber was given a special, one-of-a-kind dye job, enjoying its state representing a semi-solid, brown-red Marsala (Pantone's Color of the Year for 2015):
If you've drooled over the intricate lace shawls that the wonderful textile artists of the Shetland Islands create, then we welcome you to the beginning of their process: Shetland wool.
Shetland wool is fine, soft, and silky but has a bulky down that provides a nice "bloom" in the finished yarn. It's also extremely versatile, available in a variety of natural colors while being exceptional at drinking in dye. We decided to really push the Shetland wool featured in this month's boxes to the limit, and it didn't disappoint, drinking up a lustrous, golden-orange color that compliments the Dorset Horn's undertone of red marvelously.
Stay Tuned for Part II
We'll introduce Part II of our spinning club box reveal tomorrow so we can give everyone time to appreciate the lovely fibers we've featured in today's post.
Spinners, don't forget: we've created a finished yarn thread in the Fiberista Clubhouse so you can showcase your skills and creativity!