January 15, 2012

Sheep to Sweater Sunday n° 86 : " So much for common knowledge ! "

De la Toison au Tricot n° 86 : " Au revoir les idées reçues ! "

People often say that ouessant wool is worthless :
that it is coarse and rough, and that you can't do anything with it.

It is also often said that lamb's wool is the best quality wool
and that wool from an older sheep isn't very nice.

Yes ... people say all sorts of things.
But you shouldn't always believe what you hear.
Here's a little project that will show you that
"common knowledge" isn't always to be believed.

On dit souvent que la laine ouessant est sans intérêt :
qu’elle est rêche et grossière, qu’on ne peut rien faire avec.

On dit aussi que la laine de la première tonte est de meilleure qualité
et que la laine d’un mouton âgé est de moindre qualité.

Oui ... on dit toutes sortes de choses.
Mais attention aux idées reçues !
Voilà un petit projet qui montre que
les idées reçues ne sont pas forcément vraies.

I had the privilege of working with the beautiful fleece
from Castille des Lutins du Montana, an 11 year old white ouessant ewe.
So first a big “thank you” to Dominique, her shepherd,
and to Castille for such a gorgeous fleece.

J’ai eu la privilège de travailler la belle toison de
Castille des Lutins du Montana, brebis ouessant blanche âgée de 11 ans.
Alors, un grand merci à Dominique, son berger,
et à Castille elle-même pour cette magnifique toison.

photo de D. Morzynski

As I've already said a number of times, ouessant wool can be as fine as merino.

Comme j’ai déjà dit à plusieurs reprises, la laine ouessant peut être aussi fine que le mérinos.

Yes, it's true. As fine and as soft as merino.

Oui, c’est vrai, aussi fine et aussi douce que le mérinos.

Using this beautiful fleece, I spun a fine 2-ply yarn.

À partir de cette belle toison, j’ai façonné un fil fin à 2 brins.

Then what better way of celebrating the fineness and the softness of this beautiful ouessant wool than by knitting a lovely set of mittens, booties and hat for a baby.

Puis quoi de meilleur pour célébrer la finesse et la douceur de cette belle laine ouessant qu’un petit ensemble pour bébé.

I used 3 different patterns to make this knitted baby set.
For the hat I used Sweet Dreams Baby Hat by Catherine A. McClure.
For the booties, I used Lea by Corrine Fourcade.
And for the mittens I used Sock Yarn Newborn Mittens, also by Corrine Fourcade.

J’ai utilisé 3 modèles différents pour réaliser ce petit ensemble pour bébé.
Pour le bonnet j’ai utilisé Sweet Dreams Baby Hat de Catherine A. McClure.

Pour les petits chaussons, j’ai utilisé le modèle Lea de Corrine Fourcade.
pour les petites moufles Sock Yarn Newborn Mittens, aussi de Corrine Fourcade.

Soft, fine wool : fine enough and soft enough for a baby.
And all from the fleece of an 11 year old ouessant sheep.
So much for "common knowledge" !

Une laine douce et fine : assez fine et assez douce pour un bébé.
Et tout ça à partir de la toison d’un mouton d’ouessant de onze ans.
Au revoir les idées reçues !


Hillevi3 said...

Your work is always so good! And those are cute :)

Diane said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, those little baby knits are ever so cute. I must admit that I'm not too fond of knitting booties though ... too fiddly for me ... but they turned out nicely.

Jody said...

As you probably know , I have admired this special little baby set over on Ravelry :-)
That does look like very fine wool. You have certainly opened my eyes to these amazing little sheep that I had no idea even existed until I came upon your blog Diane.

Diane said...

Thank you Jody.
Yes, it's really quite fine approx 18-19 microns. So soft and fine ... BUT not quite as much crimp as merino. That said, I'm quite pleased with the results.
It's for the new grand daughter ... or rather step grand daughter ... my husband's grand daughter. At any rate ... it's like being a grand mother without ever having been a mother. Works for me! Sabine is very cute ... and I'm sure that there will be more baby bits and pieces in the future.

Felicity Ford said...

What magnificent things, spun so finely and beautifully from your 11-year-old Ouessant sheep's fleece.

I love the fact that because you work so closely with your animals you are able to always get the very best from their fleeces and use each one appropriately; I often think that generalisations can only made about wool when thousands of fleeces are processed together, on an industrial scale. I think Deb Robson said that mixed wool takes on the characteristics of the roughest fibres, so if you mix up 30 fleeces, from sheep with various strengths of wool, you will end up with something rougher than if you work - as you do - closely and carefully with an individual fleece.

How I love your projects, which are always made so closely from your sheep, and which contain such care and precision. What gorgeous baby things! Your Ouessant fleece fibres look very fine indeed to my learner's eyes.

Diane said...

Thank you Felicity.
I must say that we are lucky to able to purchase commercially processed wool.
That being said, one of the big advantages of being a spinning shepherd is that one can closely look at individual fleeces and then decide what each one “was meant to be”. It’s so wonderful to work with a primitive fleece (like ‘TitBijou’s), which so many spinners would discount because it’s too much of this and not enough of that. I look for the possibilities and what’s special about a fleece. Her fleece was used to make the most beautiful felted slippers. On the other hand, Castille’s fleece is destined for baby garments. It’s also true that for me, the whole process is very personal. Each sheep is an individual : different personalities, different fleeces. Each one has something special to offer – it’s the spinning shepherd’s job to figure out how best to use each fleece.

Thank you for visiting the Spinning Shepherd!