Thursday, 5 August 2010

In a little bit of jam

Last week was a bit overkill on the fruit when visiting the market. I ended up with blueberries, apricots and some peaches amongst other things. I knew I had to do something with the goodies I had and we were out of the jam I'd made last year. It seemed like a good idea to stock up for the winter. Blueberry jam is always yummy and this was my first time making apricot jam. It is really delicious however I wasn't happy that half the basket of apricots was green and then rotted before they ripened, so there is only one batch of it. The final batch was blueberry-peach. It seems every year we get a different selection of jams.

I was visiting my friend Suzi. After stuffing me full of freshly baked cinnamon buns (she's an awesome baker), we headed to her studio to see the new rug she was weaving - very cool by the way and to mark the hem of my new dress. After a wander around her property to identify useful dye plants, we ended up at her herb garden where the Oregano was growing profusely. She sent me home with a big bag full, which is awesome as I won't have enough this year to dry.

Leslie went to Newfoundland this summer and brought me back a pressie! It's a pound of Newfoundland Sheep Wool! The staple length of this is amazing. It's a double coated fleece. I pulled the long hairs out of a lock to check it out and they separated easily, leaving a lovely, even long staple and a much softer and shorter inner coat. I don't know what I'm going to do with this bounty, but it will be lots of fun.

The Newfoundland sheep is being studied right now to find it's genetic origins. It is thought that some of the sheep may have come with settlers 500 years ago. Because they are supposed to look like and have survival traits of the Border Cheviot, it is presumed that they were bred or based on that breed, with the addition of a variety of other breed genetics over the years. There are however people who believe that the breed is based on Icelandic or Black Welsh Mountain sheep. The double coat is interesting as it is not that commonly found in a lot of breeds.

So has anyone else dealt with an interesting double fleece like this? Any suggestions on how best to deal with it? I don't want to waste an ounce!


Sharon said...

Two of our Shetland wethers are double coated. I don't separate them when I process and it creates a type of mohair halo. It doesn't seem to make the yarn harsh, but Icelandic is very harsh with the second coat. I think it depends~

Leigh said...

What a wonderful friend!

I've dealt with several dual fleece breeds: Icelandic, Navajo Churro, Heberidean, and Shetland. You can get three different kinds of yarn. You can spin them together, or separate the inner and outer coats. Then you can get the soft inner coat for woolen spinning, and a sturdy worsted spun yarn from the outer. I use a dog comb to separate easily. I just take a firm hold on the tip of the fleece, and pull the inner coat out with the comb from the staple's butt. It's ready to card and lovely to spin. I'd say experiment with all of them!