Monday, December 26, 2011

Spelsau - a primitive sheep breed from Norway

First, a week's-worth of workouts...

Monday: nada; rest day
Tuesday: 4.5 mi on the dreadmill in 55:32
Wednesday: 4.5 dreadmiles in 56:46
Thursday: nada; rest day
Friday: Garmin says 5.25 mi in 1:02:24 (hit 5 mi at 59:03)
Saturday: Garmin says 5.5 mi in 1:03:50 (hit 5 mi at 58:04)
Sunday: Garmin says 5.25 mi in 1:01:24 (hit 5 mi at 59:13)

Last week's total: 25 mi. Yay!

Today/Monday: seriously? nada - errand day

On to the Spelsau...

On Christmas eve, I got Anna, the 1860 wheel, out to spin. I worked on a sample of adult Spelsau fiber I got earlier this fall. Spelsau, or Spælsau, hail from Norway originally,  and may be the "original" Norwegian sheep breed (if one can be called that). It is from the Northern European short-tailed sheep group, which also includes the better-known Finnsheep, Gotland, Shetland and Icelandic breeds, among others.

Here's the raw fiber - a bit of Spel lamb on the left, and the adult Spel fiber on the right:

Spelsau fiber
Since there was under an ounce of adult fiber, I just spun it on to one bobbin. I'd flicked and picked it, but then decided that was all the prep I was doing. I would grab a handful, and spin from a lock formation when I could, but otherwise... it just did what it wanted.

Spelsau is a primitive double-coated breed, like Icelandic and many Shetlands. It has a very soft - and very short - undercoat, then a coarse, much longer outer coat. I didn't bother to separate the two. I wanted to see what happened when I just spun it all together.

I did the singles on Saturday, then Christmas afternoon, I Navajo-plied it (also on Anna). I ended up with 36 yds of 3-ply in 20.5gm. The dime is there for reference.

I absolutely love the color. I expected more of a gray 'impression' overall, but there's a lot of tan and some black in there. It's definitely not the softest stuff... it feels more like jute twine. But it would make something REALLY durable. I suspect it would be more suited to weaving (both warp and weft) over knitting or crochet, as the finished yarn is quite strong.

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