Last time, I reviewed 2 different "downs" breeds, which are really famous for sock fiber: I tried Southdown and Dorset. Other "downs" breeds include:
- Oxford Down
- Hampshire (Down)
Anyways, for this set of sock fiber trials, I spun up some "long" wools. This type of wool is quite different from the downs breeds, it isn't nearly as springy and so doesn't produce an elastic yarn. It is much shinier than downs wool. Longwool-type breeds include:
- Border Leicester
[Border Leicester sheep. Love the ears!]
[ border leicester socks ]
Blue-Faced Leicester ("BFL")
[BFL sheep with classic "roman" nose]
So I think my learnings from these experiments are that for longwools, I prefer to:
1. use a combed, not carded, prep - commercially-prepped "tops" are much easier to deal with and will give a nice, smooth, shiny yarn. This seems to exclude a lot of locally-processed stuff, though, because what I've seen at local fairs appears to be carded.
2. spin straight-up 3- or 4-ply with a tight ply to give extra "boing" to the yarn. A cable-ply doesn't seem as springy...
I haven't done enough wearing of my socks yet to know if the superwash and/or nylon is a "must" on longwool socks. I can see more experiments in my future!