Polwarth

I’m trying something I haven’t done before: spinning fleece locks. A Verb For Keeping Warm had some grey Polwarth locks and I’d ordered two sets, but there was a stocking glitch and Kristine only had one. After a little discussion, she sent a grey and a white, and generously refunded shipping, definitely a place to shop again!

The Polwarth is an Australian/New Zealand breed of sheep which were originally three quarters Merino and one quarter Lincoln, established as a breed in 1880 and bred for both fleece and lean meat. They have few wrinkles (unlike Merino sheep) which cuts down on fly problems.

The locks came beautifully packaged in a waxed paper bag. They smell flowery and are buttery soft with only a smidge of vegetable matter in them, and I think there’s a little lanolin still on the locks. The brush is a PetSmart dog slicker. I found a great YouTube video on flick carding in a Ravelry forum, so I tried her method.

Polwarth processing.

It helps a LOT if you hold onto the locks at one end while carding, otherwise you just get a lump of fibre stuck to the brush. Once the ends have been flicked out, you can draft them and make a length of roving. After a couple of tries I got the hang of it, and there’s a bag of little roving balls to spin. It’s not nearly as well prepped as commercial roving but it’s nice to spin from something I carded. The dog slicker got out the short fibres and left the long stuff. I have a new appreciation for roving now! Spun up one roving ball and it feels very springy to spin.