Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Swatchalong: Manx Loaghtan Part 1

I was going to start off on the Knit British Breed Swatchalong with some Romney handspun, and so I did, only I ran out of yarn. I don't have any more of the fibre to spin, so this Romney swatch is going on the backburner until I sort out ordering some more (and then spinning it; hopefully close enough to the same specs).

I'm moving on to Manx Loaghtan instead for my first swatch.

By Acad Ronin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Manx Loaghtan are noted for having multiple horns (as many as six), and having a range of lovely brown colours. As the name suggests, they are from the Isle of Man, and are a rare breed that gets used for conservation grazing (their grazing benefits bird populations, specifically the Chough). For more on the sheep itself, here's a link to their sheep breeder's group.

As far as the fleece is concerned, the staple length and micron counts listed in The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook (Robson & Ekarius) are: 2.5-5" (6.5-12.5cm) and an average of 27 microns. My particular bit of wool was given to me by a friend in roving form to sample from her own stash. I had spun this up in January, and wrote on the blog about it here. Having more spinning experience now (though still pretty limited), I'd probably describe the wool as somewhere between Corriedale and Shetland, though really, it's entirely it's own thing.

The yarn is nice and springy, and as even as I could hope for it to be considering I had been spinning for less than a year when I had spun it. I remember enjoying spinning this yarn, and I had spun it more-or-less worsted style on my drop spindle. The colour is lovely; this morning I decided it's a heathered milk chocolate. The skein had a nice squoosh to it, and was nice to wind up. It's not as I should say exactly soft, but it's not not soft; I'd say probably soft enough for next-to-skin, but we'll see how the test drive of the swatch goes for that.

So far, the swatch is coming along nicely. I've decided on a stockinette and garter stripe for stitch pattern, and am using 3.25mm needles. The yarn measured 14 wraps-per-inch, so it's basically a fingering weight. It's not that drapey at present (going up a needle size could fix that), but I like the fabric, and think it will drape a touch more when washed. We'll just have to see.

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