Something new on the wheel

Since finishing the alpaca/BFL back in February, my spinning wheel has been shamefully naked (and probably a bit chilly, to boot).  The reason, of course, being Textiles In Focus.  (Is there anything I can’t blame on that show??)

Now it’s over, I want to get back to my habit of spinning for 15 minutes in the morning, so last night I dug out these two braids of Corriedale roving:

The blue one was a thank you gift; the grey one was dyed by me.  The idea was to ply the two colours together, to get a stormy blue/grey laceweight for the Shipwreck Shawl (Ravelry link; the original pattern is available for free here, from Knitty).

The only trouble is, I don’t think Corriedale is the right wool for the yarn I want.  I have more of the grey than the blue, so I used the grey for a bit of a sample this morning.

Looks lovely, doesn’t it?  Unfortunately, if I give this yarn enough twist to look ‘right’ for lace, it becomes quite springy and almost stiff.  Corriedale fibre is quite crimpy, and although it’s relatively fine, it has quite a lot of body.  I think this shawl demands a flow-y yarn with good drape and much less of that woolly bounce and resilience.

My second sample is a bit thicker and more loosely spun:

It might not look quite so pristine as the first, but I think it plays to the natural characteristics of the wool far better.  Although I’ve spun both of these samples from roving, from the end (so at least semi-worsted), this second sample has an almost woollen feel – lofty, open, lots of air.

I think my Corriedale would very much like to be spun woollen.  I have plenty remaining to sample with, so I could try carding some and spinning long-draw from the rolags. (It would make a great addition to the Fair Isle stash, I have to admit).  I could also spin larger quantities of each sample, and wash them, since we know that can significantly change the quality of a yarn.  (Wow, that would be very mature of me).  But either way, I don’t think that these braids are going to become the Shipwreck Shawl.

Dammit, spinning, why do you keep making me think?!  And double dammit, I really thought that the colours would be excellent for the project I have in mind, so it’s such a pain that the texture is wrong.

5 comments


  • Interesting post Alison. My conclusions about Corriedale were the same as yours.

    2nd March 2011
  • I love spinning Corriedale, but it does like to be loose and bouncy. The color is wonderful though and I like your idea of the blending of the greys and blues for that shawl. What ever you decide on please don’t forget to share!

    2nd March 2011
  • The colors really would have been perfect for Shipwreck…
    Back to the dyepots with a different wool, eh?

    2nd March 2011
  • lyn

    Interesting, so how about spinning it from the fold? Less loft, more definition… What do you want from it, or what does it want from you??? Which will win out? It is such a gorgeous evocative colourway! Maybe it will take on an alternative life as a denser cabled thing… where its energy storing facility can come into play… like a cabled twisted rib from an n-plyed laceweight for wristlets, or mittens or a narrow but loooonnnngggg pencil scarf… the stormy sky is the limit…

    2nd March 2011
  • […] of the yarn I am creating.  A fundamental problem, I think, is that I am using Corriedale, which does not *want* to be a smooth, compact, un-bouncy yarn.  There is no fix for this, except to switch my […]

    24th March 2011

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