Last May was our first sheering, and I sent the wool to a semi-local mill to be made into Aran weight yarn. I currently don't have the time, skill, or if I am completely honest, the inclination to spin my own yarn. Someday maybe. Let me tell you what I've discovered:
I had each sheep spun separately so I could compare the wool. I did this because when they were being shorn the gentleman helping us was discussing how they felt to him as we went. I wanted to see how this would translate into wearable yarn.
I've so far knitted with Evia's and Caitlin's (she is my favorite sheep by far). Evia is a ginormous sheep and I've got the most of her wool. Tiddler is the smallest and I haven't used hers yet (also because it feels the roughest). I'm in the process of working with Zoom Zoom's (the token black sheep that we actually bought for meat but she was too small and too adorable to even contemplate that fate). So far, by far, I love Zoom Zoom's wool best. It is the most squishy, lovely stuff imaginable. It is not as scratchy as the Border Leicester wool. However, I washed Caitlin's a couple of times in Eucran and the sweater was pretty good to the touch. A wee bit scratchy to begin with, but certainly bearable.
Evia's Wool Projects:
I had this pattern in the closet. I don't particularly like the way the collar turned out, and I'm not sure I will ever wear it. I only washed this once and it is still pretty rough. Pattern: 7187 Woman's Jacket by Sirdar
This was super fun to knit and I love it. My family makes fun of me for knitting a bonnet, but look how beautifully it turned out! I haven't washed it yet, but I will for next winter!
Pattern: Neon Ski Bonnet this is a free pattern!
Caitlin's Wool Project:
I knit another Ross by Pam Allen. I had previously knit one for my daughter, and I think the sizing is weird. It is meant to be boxy, but the arms are skinny. Anyway, I learned from my previous knit and I am happy with the result of this one.
Zoom Zoom's Wool:
This is the back panel on a Highway 61 Pullover. It is from Interweave, and so far, I love love love it. I was a bit leery it would turn out too small, but I am currently at gauge so fingers crossed. I am always to nervous it won't fit when I am done. This project is seamed, but I like to pretend I don't like but I secretly think I do. At least, for Aran jumpers.
So that's what I've been up to. I am looking into natural dyes, so I have a long road ahead of me. I'm going to see what I can plant, or what I can harvest naturally around here and see what colors I can get. Fun!!