Sunday, January 12, 2014

St. Distaff Day

     January 7 is Roc Day, or Distaff Day, or St. Distaff Day.  It was the day that women went back to their spinning work after the twelve days of Christmas were completed.  I must admit, to me, January 7 is the day the Christmas tree comes down.
     Friday, my husband spoke to a shepherd near Ithaca about her Finnsheep and the possibility of us buying some in the Spring.  They had a lengthy conversation, and we are visiting her farm today,  she invited me to come up yesterday for the Roc Day celebration her spinning guild holds.  As it was pouring rain yesterday, I really did not feel like driving out nearly two hours to go to this celebration.  However, since it was pouring rain outside yesterday, it was perfect for spinning on my own, at home.
    I pulled out the batts of Faroe Island wool that I have had for about a year now.  These sheep are a northern European short tail type, closely related to Icelandic sheep (another breed I am interested in).  I have never spun Faroe or Icelandic wool, so I gave it a go.   The results are interesting and it has been really helpful to start this now.  The wool is courser than much of what I normally spin.  It has a fair amount of kemp and, unfortunately,  this batt is full of vm.  I can see this making a nice blanket, or a sweater that you wear a turtleneck under.  It is not a "next to the skin"  wool, but I kind of like it.
I love the silver and grey variations
large pieces of straw aw well as foxtails and seeds

Spinning up nicely, but you can see the prickly,
itchy fibers standing out from the yarn.
 If this is a similar to Icelandics as I have read, I am now not certain I want to raise them for fiber. I am still really enamoured of the Black Welsh Mountain sheep, but have not done a fiber test on them.  Shetlands are a dream sheep for fiber, so they are still in the running, but Finnsheep with their tendency to have litters of lambs, not just twins, may be a good starting place.  I will tell you more after we come back from the sheep farm today.
     So a belated happy Roc Day to all the spinsters out there.  Have a wonderful new year.

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