Pop Quiz This Morning

q~Put your books away and take out a piece of paper and a pencil, we have a pop quiz this morning. What do Lincoln wool and Gotland wool have in common? (I can hear my kids from here, “Mom you’re such a Nerd!” I wear the title proudly as the Nerd Test blog of August 26 can attest to, I’m a Nerd Queen.) Here are the two fibers: Left – Gotland top, Right – Lincoln locks.

hobbit_locks

For all of you Tolkienites or Fiber Factoidites, if you guessed that they were both used in costumes created for use in Peter Jackson movies based on novels by J. R. R. Tolkien you’d be correct.

The fleece from New Zealand’s Stansborough Gotland sheep were spun into yarn and then woven into the Magic Elven cloaks. The Lord of the Rings costume designers ordered 1000 m (1093 yards) of this fiber when they saw it on display in New York. Odd twist of fate is that it is produced in New Zealand where the trilogy was shot. The yarn was produced by Stansborough Fibres a family-owned business in New Zealand.

In the latest issue of Spin-off (remember it’s “talking” to me) there’s a blurb about “Yarn Fit For A Hobbit”. Over 200 pounds ( about 90 kg) Lincoln fiber was “wildspun” to use in costumes. 9 pounds (about 4 kg) of “wildspun” yarn was used per costume, this made each sleeve weigh 3 pounds (about 1 kg). Hallblacks Natural Wool Products produced the wool used in The Hobbit.

Just so happens that we had plans to see The Hobbit yesterday, so the blurb was giving me the heads up to look closely at the costumes. The Hubs, the son and I sat glued to our seats, 3-D glasses on, ducking as object flew straight at us, as we were totally entranced by the movie. Honest confession, after the movie Hubs asked me if I’d even seen 1/2 of the movie. LOL! I can’t watch all the fighting in movies, so I close me eyes. Yep, I’m sure I saw at least 1/2 of the movie and it was good. I was exhausted though watching the arms lifting the three pound sleeves, I totally got a work out.

Another confession is that I never saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so we watched part one, The Fellowship of the Ring, last night and made the day a total J. R. R. Tolkien day. Over the next two evenings, we’ll watch the other two parts. Good thing I have a spinning wheel, I spun while there was fighting on-screen. Since I have both Lincoln locks and Gotland top I should be spinning Tolkien, but I’m not. I don’t have any empty bobbins, however I will when my new ones arrive next week. Girl can’t have too many bobbins.

So hands up, how many of you are planning on seeing The Hobbit? That is it you haven’t already seen it.

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Lovely Lincoln Locks

~What an exciting time in spinning class. This semester we are going to focus on different types of wools as well as learning different spinning techniques and some dyeing.

Yesterday we looked at Lovely Lincoln Locks. What a very curly crimpy wool and so very soft. Lincoln sheep originated in Lincolnshire, England where they are called Lincoln Longwool. World-wide this is turning into a rare breed and are considered “at-risk” in Britain. The sheep are quite large and sturdy with very thick, long fleeces.

This is the information about Lincoln fiber: 9 inch (23 cm) staple length, pointed tip, 3 crimps per inch (2.5 cm), thick size fiber, the colors are whites and browns. The luster is high. Can be used for knitting into outer garments. We were each given a handful of fiber to spin so we could try out the day’s lesson.

Margaret Tyler, our teacher, demonstrated how to spin “fuzzy” yarn. To spin a fuzzy yarn use a short, forward draw with an open hand. You can see how the right hand is blurred as it is opened and closed while drafting.

Look how wonderfully fuzzy this yarn is! Magic! She stressed that she does not ever want to hear us refer to any yarn as stiff. She said it’s all in the spinning and variety, using Romney as the example. Anne Field’s book Spinning Wool Beyond The Basics says that Lincoln should be used for outer wear and woven into rugs. Well, after today’s demonstration and seeing how soft this wool is, I’m a believer in not judging wool.

 Another student purchased and “fuzzy” spun some Lincoln fiber and shared what she made. All of us fell in love with him and had to give plenty of hugs! This is the SOFTEST yarn. She double plied the yarn. The stripes come from the natural colors in the yarn.

If you have some crimpy fiber give it a try, spin fuzzy!