Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seduced by the Soft Side

Now that I can spin finer and faster, softer wools are more attractive.  I acquired a couple of Rambouillet fleece.  Spun semi-worsted at just over 16 hanks per  pound (~9,000 ypp) and cabled into a 6-ply fingering (1,300 ypp @ 40 wpi), it is is perhaps the nicest knitting yarn I have ever worked with.

The fine plies give it strength and durability despite the fine, skin-soft fiber.  Knit on #1 needles at 9.5 spi, the fabric is thin, light in weight, but very elastic, and very warm. The elasticity was something of surprise. It is far, and away, the nicest fabric that I have ever knit.

Relaxed, the fabric is nearly weatherproof.  Stretched, it opens up and ventilates, making it very good for active winter sports.  It is like Helio, only more so.

Estimated time for me to spin/ply enough for a Jersey is ~50 hours, which does not count fiber prep.   You can buy nice Rambouillet roving for half the price of Jacob or Shetland.  Rambouillet is finer than Shetland and much longer than Merino, so it is nice to spin. And, there is a lot of it around.  Rambouillet is similar in fineness and length to Cormo, but this season Cormo is in fashion, so Rambouillet is a bargain. The thin yarn means that you need less wool. ( Less than 1.5 lb compared to ~ 2.5  lb for sweater designs using commercial worsted weight wool,  but this sweater will be warmer.) Well, yes thin yarn means there is more spinning and knitting - but is that really so bad?  I mean we like spinning and knitting soft fibers - right?  My estimated total time for a Jersey is on the order of  150 hours.

And, it is just in time, as I hear that Wingham's has stopped producing gansey yarn due to equipment failure.  It was one of the best yarns on the market and it will be missed.

1 comment:

Li Sashay said...

Thanks so much for a lovely blog. Found you this week and most enjoying reading. :-)