Last night and the night before, I've been working on the warp for this year's Sheep-to-Shawl event at the fair. I'm the plyer this year, so last week at spinning group, everyone else gave me the singles they had spun, for me to ply up. Here's the result:
That's six skeins of two-ply Romney, about 1500 yards (though I haven't measured it exactly yet). I also have about a quarter of that amount of (natural) brown Romney still to ply. Our shawl this year is going to be made out of only naturally-colored wool, not dyed fiber like we've done the past three years.
It's quite a challenge for a group of people to spin to a standard. Each of us gets a yarn sample when we pass out the fiber, and we're supposed to spin our singles to match. Sounds good in theory, right? In practice, however, the singles I got back were all over the place. Some people spun thicker, some thinner, some tighter, and some so loose I had to run their singles through my wheel again before I started plying to tighten the twist so that the singles wouldn't drift apart! Kind of makes me wonder why we bothered with the reference yarn samples, if people were just going to spin whatever the heck they wanted!
It does make for an interesting yarn, though, and once it's all plied it looks acceptable. The warp will be random wide stripes of the white and narrow stripes of the brown yarns, and the weft will be mostly white with a couple stripes of the brown at each end. Should be pretty. And it's locally grown wool, too!
I have discovered while working with the Romney, though, that I greatly prefer fine wools. I'm totally spoiled by the Merino, Colonial, and Rambouillet x Cormo I've been working with this past six months or so. Romney feels scratchy and coarse to me now.
Must finish washing and carding my soft, fluffy, luscious fleeces!!!