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Fun with Cormo, Beads and Silk

August 19, 2007

In the beginning, there was a dirty little 2 lb. fleece.

The little fleece had a bath or two,

and then it got combed.

And there were neps everywhere!


I got some advice about neps from Denise and Joanne. Here is what I learned. Fine wools can have more of a tendency to neps than other wools, particularly if there are short cuts or weak spots. This little Cormo had neither of those problems. However, it was crimpy and springy. As crimpy fibres are passed from comb to comb, they stretch out and then recoil as they are released from the holding comb. The recoil lets some of the fibre curl back on itself forming neps. I think that the next time I process a fine wool, I will take Joanne’s advice and flick card it.

I picked out the larger neps and spun the smaller ones in. They aren’t really visible in the yarn, and I would have made myself crazy trying to pick them all out. I ended up with 820 yards of soft and springy 2 ply yarn, 14 w.p.i., about sports weight.

Beads threaded for a bead stew bracelet from Earth Faire

Here it is, hready to sew the clasp on. It only took a couple of hours to knit, and it was a lot of fun!

I knit a Shedir from one ball of Rowan Calmer for my MIL, who is having chemo. It’s resting over an inverted plant pot, thus the funny shape; it doesn’t really have a brim.

This is how the singles from the Blue Moon Sheep 2 Shoe kit looked. I don’t know what colourway it is, perhaps Lapis? The fibre is superwash merino, and it was an absolute joy to spin. It just slipped through my fingers like butter. I was sorry to see it end.

The two outside skeins are three plies of Sheep 2 Shoe. I really like how the colours turned out even though I didn’t get the top split evenly into three parts. There is 495 yards of fingering weight yarn in these two skeins. The small skein in the middle is one strand of the left over Sheep 2 Shoe plied with two strands of teal merino/tencel left over from another project.

Doesn’t this look good enough to eat? Hand painted tussah silk top from the Silkworker in a colourway she calls “Invitation”. Delicious!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2007 9:11 am

    Wow, have you been saving up??? It’s gorgeous. The spinning especially.
    I love Cormo despite its neps, it makes the cushiest yarn. It’s worth it. I combed samples of the little fleeces in my basement yesterday to decide what to process myself and what to send out, and it wasn’t the cormo that was the most annoying.

  2. June permalink
    August 19, 2007 9:31 am

    Oh Wow, Mel! You never cease to amaze! I hope you will show the merino after plying!

  3. August 19, 2007 1:12 pm

    Everythinglooks lovely! Good thoughts going out to your mil.

  4. August 19, 2007 4:57 pm

    Your posts are always such a feast for the eyes! The cormo turned out just lovely, for as much as it was driving you crazy. And the S2S is so fun! Who woulda thought what was on those spindles woud turn out to be those skeins! I like how your experiment with the other yarn turned out, too.
    And the silk! So pretty!

  5. August 20, 2007 7:47 am

    Ooh, a feast for the eyes! I can’t say how glad I am that beauty doesn’t have calories :o) Especially that silk *swoon* in the dessert dish.

  6. Gina permalink
    August 20, 2007 8:21 am

    WOW! Such a beautiful post.

  7. Jan permalink
    August 20, 2007 11:47 am

    Just beautiful, Mel. The colors are grand; your work, exquisite. 🙂
    FYI the old time wool combers heated their combs in a pot over a fire, to straighten out the wool fiber during combing. In his book on hand woolcombing, Peter Teal tells how to do it at home.

  8. August 20, 2007 7:30 pm

    Everything looks absolutely gorgeous! There’s so much to comment on, I don’t quite know where to start. You do such a great job at composing the photos. I would have expected more yardage from a 2 lb. fleece so that’s a great eye opener. The hat is lovely and will, undoubtedly, be loved. I just bought a Lapis Sheep 2 Shoe kit in Michigan last weekend and only hope that it turns out as nicely as yours. Can’t wait to see the socks! The silk–mouth wateringly beautiful!

  9. August 21, 2007 1:26 pm

    Wow! It’s all so beautiful! I don’t know where to start. You are a multi-talented woman!!!

  10. August 21, 2007 5:51 pm

    Everything is beautiful! I hope to see you soon.

  11. Sam permalink
    August 22, 2007 10:38 am

    Melanie, the colors here are just stunning. What a lovely post and a nice thing to wake up to this morning! I think the Cormo yarn is going to be such a joy to knit with, and I can’t wait to see what the “Sheep to Shoe” becomes. 🙂 Lovely work!

  12. August 24, 2007 7:11 am

    melanie, melanie, melanie! i’m speechless!

  13. August 28, 2007 8:50 am

    As always, your post is a feast for the eyes!
    I didn’t know you did beading too? very pretty.
    I’m really partial to the colors in the Silkworker top – they look like fruit sherbet. Yummy!
    (ps – did you try misting your cormo with water while you were combing it? I’ve found that this can sometimes make combing easier since it cuts the static and tames some of the spring-back effect)

  14. Roberta permalink
    August 28, 2007 10:22 am

    Wonderful story of how the little cormo fleece grew into something that now will be soft and warm for you. What will it be?

  15. August 31, 2007 7:23 am

    Your spinning is lovely!
    Sorry about the Cormo neps – that’s the nature of the finer fleeces. I use leave-in hair conditioner to control flyaway, and I tweeze out neps as I comb if I work with really fine stuff. Cormo is one of my favorite breeds, too.

  16. August 31, 2007 3:27 pm

    Your handspun looks gorgeous!

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