Monday, April 26, 2021

Manx Loaghtan - Breed School 2.0

The March 2021 fiber for Breed School 2.0 was Manx Loaghtan (pronounced LOCK-tun), which hails from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. I didn't realize that the Isle of Man is technically not part of the UK or the EU... it is a "crown dependency" and has its own government. But it sounds... kind of like a colony, so I'm not really sure. The British Empire spawned so many types of un-free units!The Isle of Man has been occupied by humans for more than 10,000 years, so maybe the Brits were just a blip on their radar.

The name means "mouse-brown sheep from the Isle of Man," and it is indeed a mousy brown. These sheep are part of the Northern European short-tailed group. I made two wee samples:
The top one (with the yellow tie) is short forward draft. I didn't love it. The bottom one (red tie) is long draw, from the fold. My sampling notes say "this is the one!" This fiber is quite crimpy and the woolen approach resulted in a delightfully elastic yarn.

I also decided to try to make a chunky yarn. Like many spinners, my default yarn has become finer and finer over the years. I don't want to lose the ability to make a thick yarn (plus, the project goes faster). I thought I'd exercise my "chunky yarn" muscle with this project. I spun the singles on my 10.5:1 whorl and plied on 12.5:1. I also had to train my feet to treadle more slowly than is my norm. Here are the first singles starting to build up on the bobbin:

The Breed School 2.0 shipments contain 150 grams of fiber, and I didn't use up very much in my 2 wee samples, so I could not fit all my singles onto one bobbin. (I sort of wished I had spun this on the EEW, since the bobbin capacity is so much bigger than with the Schacht bobbins.) Here are my two bobbins after rewinding the singles. Again, I probably should have weighed the fiber and divided into two equal portions before spinning... but I didn't.

I made a 2-ply yarn. I had to ply it in 2 skeins (because... so much! so poofy!), but I just combined them for these photos. In all, I have about 236 yards and they weigh 137 grams. The WPI measurement is about 7 (the yarn isn't perfectly even), making it the bulkiest yarn I have ever made? It is delightfully squishy. 

This is not the first time I've spun Manx Loaghtan. I got some in Breed School 1.0 several years ago - it was dyed:

I love those moody colors that are created when the underlying wool isn't white. Now that you see them both, you can more clearly see the natural brown in the dyed fiber.

Which reminds me, AGAIN, that I truly prefer spinning dyed fiber. The latest issue of Spin Off magazine included some articles about natural dying, which has me thinking about what to plant now in order to dye something interesting later. The bountiful crop of dandelions in my yard shows promise, so I went out and plucked flower heads for about 25 minutes yesterday. Is this pollen? or dye? I don't know, but I love the color!

I dropped my flower heads (and the ants crawling in them) into a zip top bag, which then went to my freezer. I've been told that using frozen natural dyestuff is just as effective as using fresh. I have over 400 grams in this bag, which I would probably use to dye about 100 grams of fiber. As Ira Glass says, STAY TUNED.

1 comment:

  1. That Manx Loaghtan is pretty cool stuff, along with your yellow hands and dandelions!