Spinning for prickly socks?

I can’t stop spinning!

Today I started on some roving that’s meant for socks. It consists of three different breed of sheep which each give one single that are then to be plied into a nice round, sturdy sock yarn. That’s such a clever thing to do, to combine the breed characteristics to determine the properties of the yarn. And to utilize the spinners’ skill for the same goal. Just the thing spinners will delight in.

I’ve spun three breeds for socks before and I wear them with extra joy.

This is a roving from Wolop and the three breeds are BFL, Mohair and regular Dutch sheep. Dyed in great colours!

I bought it at the spinners’ meet where I also bought the Shetland and the Blue Texel.

The mohair is nearly done. It’s prickly:

See the hairs poking out of the single? I can imagine the socks already: sturdy but scratchy.
Normally I avoid mohair as much as possible but for socks this fleece is very well suited, with it’s sturdiness and nice gleam. Alternatives for a sock yarn would be Wensleydale, Mulberry silk or nylon/polyamide: all three long strong fibres. (The Wensleydale would be scratchy too and both fibres would cut into your fingers while spinning if you didn’t apply some tactics.)

Mohair is fleece from a goat and was traditionally used a lot for farmers’ socks over here in the Netherlands. Later on it was embraced by “people who love to be in touch with nature”. I say this with tongue in cheek because in the Netherlands mohair socks are solely responsible for the image of hippie tree-huggers: we call them “goat hair sock wearers”. Preferably wearing sandals. (“geitenwollensokkendragers“)

But the last 15 years things have changed. Tree huggers are no longer hippies. Sustainability is marketable (if not just plain common sense). Natural fibres have a PR budget. And socks and sandals are a fashion statement:

Still…. mohair…
It’s terrible to spin. Loose hairs everywhere! At intervals I have to step outside and shake my skirt in the wind to get rid of them. The fibres are coarse against my fingertips. I had never spun mohair before and I don’t think I’m in a hurry to do so again.

But I look forward to finding out how this single combines with the BFL and the Dutch breed, those two are soft to the touch.


Yes, the combination is great!

These will be great socks! I’m going to love wearing them. As a modern handspun homage to our history and tradition of goat hair socks :

In green.

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