Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saturday July 12th and a wee note about the Romney sheep.

First I want to let you know our good news, we're approximately 3-4 weeks away from getting into our new guild rooms at The Tannery!   The carpet goes down this week and the movers are going to be called to get our goods out of storage.

Since it was a fairly quiet day for photo's I've decided to put in a wee piece I wrote about the Romney sheep as well:



The Humble Romney

When I learned to spin I started off with a Romney fleece that I’d had washed and carded at Tai Tapu Wool Carders.   It was an excellent way to learn as the fibres were long enough to be kind to me as I fumbled my way along and tried to get my hands and feet to work together.   My second spin was of a different Romney fleece and that one was turned into a jersey that I still wear.
Once I’d got a handle on spinning though I branched out, I’ve spun Merino, Silk, Corriedale, Dorset, Alpaca and Yak.   I like to try new things, and I like to challenge myself as well.    I’d read about new fibres and want to try them, so I’d get some to try.    Of late though, I’ve been thinking I’d like to go back to my beginnings.
I don’t have a lot of Romney in my stash, mostly it’s Merino, but Merino is not ideal for harder wearing outer garments.    Romney on the other hand can be brilliant for this, but some is also surprisingly soft.    I think that’s one of the things I love about it, there is such a wide range of fibres from the one sheep breed.   It also if spun worsted has a beautiful sheen which makes it ideal for shawls as well.   If dyed it can glow; so why isn’t it more popular?
I think part of the problem is simply that in New Zealand, Merino is pushed so much that it’s mostly what people think of when they hear the word “wool”.   If it’s not Merino then it’s not worth considering.   This is simply not true, most breeds are worth spinning and they all are good for different things.   People also think of Romney as a meat sheep, it certainly makes a nice meal, but really it’s a dual purpose breed, especially when you have a flock that’s been carefully bred for its fleece.   Remember, Merino is also a good meat sheep as it’s low in fat, not something you see in the advertising.
I will be happy in a couple of months when I get my Romney back from Greenacres to spin up, it’s being carded and then gilled and then I’ll spin it and it will become a jersey for someone in my family.  It’ll be warm, look good, feel nice and wear well, what more could you ask for?  If there’s some left over after that then mittens or possibly a warm blanket or shawl, and in the meantime while I’m waiting I’ve got some lovely dyed Romney that will be pulled out as soon as I finish my current project.
I hope that some of you are now reconsidering the Romney in your stash and starting to dream about what it could be with a little attention!

Romney carded with some sparkle, this is going to be a hat as it's lovely and squooshy.

 Our lovely display this week was graced by the following pieces:

Kerry brought in her multi coloured socks; these were knit on a sock machine and while not new they don't show much sign of wear.

Jenny spun this natural brown alpaca, lovely and soft.  Jenny bought this last week.

Jan spun this silk which is absolutely glorious!

Jan also spun this merino from Heavenly Wools, which is lovely.

Jan also spun this Merino of Anna's; so nice and squishy.

Jan (not the same Jan as above) knit this gorgeous cowl from her first handspun that she dyed, I love the variation in colour.
 Next week we'll be at St Marks in Withells Rd; not many more times at either of the church halls; in fact we've finished at Opawa Rd which is sad in some ways as both churches have been such a great support to us.

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