2 of 51 Yarns: Medium Wool

There is a debate among spinners whether Medium Wool is a thing, because all it definitely means is “not long or short.” The wools in this category don’t have much else in common, and sometimes a wool is put here that would be better called long or short.
But if you asked me to name one sheep breed that was truly middle-of-the-road, average, generic – I’d probably say Corriedale. It’s just… Corriedale. It’s medium staple, medium crimp, medium micron, easy to get your hands on roving or top in any color, easy for beginners to spin. Imagine my surprise when I realized I’d never actually spun it. I bought this featureless lump bump of lovely black Corriedale at Wabi Sabi in Ottawa a couple summers ago. I have 14/oz of it, and my plan is to (somehow) use it together with my rainbow-on-black art batt from Nic Frost to make some kind of awesome clerical-appropriate vest. I’ve had my eye on the Soleris cardi ever since I saw Wool n’ Spinning Rachel’s version. So this sample is going to be another sweater sample. I’d long ago decided on a 3-ply; why not make it the same WPI as the previous for easy comparison? This is how my combing test came out, but I’m not sure it’s accurate. I am using a hair comb, not a real comb, so we’ll see. I question it’s accuracy because, while spinning short forward draw, my hands had to be no more than 2-4″ apart. So, hm. The spinning itself was smooth and easy. You might think spinning black in my perpetually dark house would be difficult, but I slapped a white blanket on my lap and it was no problem. I was surprised at how completely different it felt in my fingers after the superfine merino. It didn’t just feel thicker; it felt downright coarse. While with the merino I tended to be spinning thinner than I realized, with the Corrie I had to consciously make sure I was grabbing few enough fibres to hit my target of the 32 wpi slot.
The stats are all on my rav page and on the cards below, so I won’t rehash them. I was again going for that sweet spot of “as much twist as possible before rope,” which I knew would mean less twist than the merino, but I had no idea how much less. So I just went down a ratio – to 11.5:1 – and rolled with it. Middle whorl for a medium wool? Sure. At 1″ per treadle, this was definitely max twist. The singles were starting to pigtail a little. But I don’t think I reached the dreaded “rope” stage. I kept a light hand in the plying, ending up with 35 degrees of twist after finishing. The yarn is crunchy – much crunchier than the merino – but has lots of bounce and sproing. It could definitely live with less singles twist, but as this is for a sweater – and is going to be used alongside a merino – it’s probably perfect this way for this project.
I knitted a swatch up on 7s and 8s. Pinning the swatch to the kids’ new easel finally got me enough natural light to photograph the thing.
The 7s (above) were about perfect, coming in at 19 st/4″. The 8s (below) made a loosey goosey fabric that I would not want for a sweater in this firm yarn. I could have tried it on 6s to see what a tighter fabric was like. It’s definitely the same size yarn as the merino sample, which pleases me.
This is going to be a fun spin when I get to it, and probably pretty quick. A great spin to default to, which is what you want in a sweater spin. I look forward to it, and in the meantime, I’m very pleased to have finally got some basic Corriedale between my hands!

2 thoughts on “2 of 51 Yarns: Medium Wool

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