6 of 51 Yarns: Icelandic Thel

This post is part of a spin-along through 51 Yarns by Jacey Boggs Faulkner, in the Wool n’ Spinning community. For other posts in this series, check here.

Last time I shared about my experience separating the two coats of a bit of Icelandic fleece and spinning the outer coat or Tog. Today I’ll share the somewhat different experience of spinning the inner coat, and compare the two.

To me, these fluffy, disorganized fibres were asking to be carded. So I turned them into a big pile of rolags.

There is so much air in these! Compare this big pile of 1.2 oz with the 2 oz of puni-style rolags I spun last month. So much poof.

I wouldn’t characterize these fibers as amazingly soft, but they’re certainly soft enough, and spun up so very bouncily this way. I have to imagine that this is what Icelandic lace yarn is spun from, fine singles ready for lacework that’s warm but fine.

I did want woolen spun singles, but I didn’t want to put in the time to get laceweight. So I made some DK weight singles, doing a long draw, but keeping the twist as low as seemed safe.

This is a yarn I really wish you could feel. It looks unassuming, but it is so squishy.

Here it is alongside its Tog partner. They are both very hairy, but one is taut and inelastic, while the other is one of the bounciest things I’ve ever spun. (Not bouncier than the down, but close.)

I was worried about stability and balance what with long draw singles, but a determined fulling (three dunks each alternately in boiling hot and ice cold water) took care of it beautifully.

One also worries about evenness. At least for an inexperienced woolen spinner like me, my longdraw singles are not super even. But the fabric came out downright nice.

I started with US 7s at the bottom and went smaller and smaller. The 5s and 4s in the top two sections looked best. A bit nubbly, but nowhere near as much as I expected.

This yarn would be fantastic for a really cozy shawl. If I had the entirety of this fleece, with the tog being a smallish percentage of it and the thel being so nice, it would be easy and fun to separate out the thel and make a wonderful singles. I’m thinking Faroese style lace, large and rustic on a garter stitch base.

Separating a dual coated fleece and spinning the coats separately was a genuinely novel experience. Definitely not something I would have tried except for this study! After separating, I didn’t expect the yarns to be as different as they were. The results were really cool.

I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to Iceland, or if I’ll ever process Icelandic fleece again, but I’m glad I had this little peek into a different way to use a very special kind of wool.


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