It's always a bitch when it comes to visit, but with the tendonitis I can't sit up and knit anything right now. Fortunately, we did a bit of cleaning this weekend, so I've been able to get to my spinning wheel for the first time in over a month. I've had the wheel for a year now, but I'm still essentially a beginner. I haven't had huge amounts of instruction, though David's been very helpful, and more importantly, I haven't gotten a lot of practice.

 What I do have, though, is a whole lotta roving from Madelyn's 2005 fleece. So I'm slowly chipping away at it, even though I have no idea what I'll make with it. I expect I may try dyeing some of it, but even that's not a certainty at the moment. The funny thing is that most spinners will look at you like you're crazy if you tell them you're learning on alpaca, but I've found it a good bit easier to "get" than the sheep's wool I've played with. I think it's mostly because I tend to overtwist the sheep's wool, while the alpaca needs a good bit more twist to hold it together.

It's not that I don't want to learn to spin sheep's wool. I've always been fascinated by the entire process of making textiles. As a kid I used to try to spin out the cotton from Q-tips or pill bottles with my fingers (still do sometimes), and I've got a few pounds of roving (merino, shetland/icelandic blend, some unknown) that'll need to be spun up one of these days. And someday when we have a farm of our own, I'd really like to have a few Shetland sheep - partly because of my Shetland ancestry, but mostly because they're small and will be easier on my back. :-) 


ulf's picture

Interesting reading about your spinning. I've never spun alpaca but I've spun mohair from angoragoats. I find it both easier and more difficult than wool. Wool has that grease that glue the wool together but mohair has longer fibers. Is there an american national sheep? In Sweden as many other countries there is a national race that is sad to be an original race in scandinavia. "Svensk lantras" (swedish countryrace, a bad translation) and Gutefår (Gutesheep). But the best yarn is made of Finullsfår (Finewoolsheep) that originates from Finland. How is it in US/UK?

drmel94's picture

There are a few breeds, such as the Columbia or Targhee, that were developed here in the US, but none that would be considered a national breed, as such. You can see info on breeds in the US here. I believe that lantras would translate to landrace in english.

"Hatred does not end by hatred; hatred ends by love. This is the eternal law." - Buddha

ulf's picture

Thanks, of course it's landrace!