This is the last of the products Louet sent me (back in November) and they did so with the understanding that I would do more than play with the roving. I agreed to try it out and give write an honest review. Guess I had better get that done before I dive into knitting something yummy and fanciful with it.
My Thoughts on Dorset Down
I was excited to try Dorset for no other reason than I never had before. Its a rare breed sheep with a long and colorful history. That alone was enough to peak my interest. But even putting aside my enthusiasm for all things of times gone by, I’d recommend this roving for the intermediate (and above) spinner. Its priced at $17 for 8 ounces and that’s a good deal for any quality roving.
Dorset is not much like merino roving, that old stand-by in the spinning world. Of all the wool breeds I’ve spun, I’d say its closest to Bluefaced Leicester, only loftier and less scratchy. (Sorry BFL… I’m not a fan.) Dorset does have a certain crispness when you touch it and that must be from high degree of crimp in the fiber. But there are no wool “itchies”. None at all. That’s a big plus for me.
It did come with some grass in it. I should definitely mention that.
There isn’t much vegetative matter, not by any stretch. But the roving is undyed so what is trapped in the fiber, you can see. For me its not a concern. I simply spun the roving with a towel in my lap since almost all of the grass and stuff fell out as I drafted the fibers. Every now and then a bit would slip by and get spun into the yarn.
I would just flick it away with my fingers. As I said, it wasn’t a big deal. A little grass never hurt anybody. But some consumers expect their yarn/roving to be completely free of vegetative matter. (Stay away from Noro then, lol).
How I spun It
When I spin something new, or I’m learning a new spinning technique, I always take the time to do a bit of test spinning. This would be the equivalent of swatching in knitting and crochet. I play with the roving and see how it looks spun worsted and woolen (or semi-woolen depending on how its been prepared). I try out different thicknesses and amounts of twist. Then I ply it together. That first bit of test spinning almost always turns out pretty cruddy. This time was no exception!
I’m not sure if you can tell from just a picture but this was very much under-spun. I didn’t have enough twist in the singles and so the plied yarn turned out sloppy. Which was just fine. It taught me that the Dorset needed more twist than I was used to. I also learned that I liked it worsted spun and at about a light fingering weight.
So after several (interrupted) hours at my S75 Louet wheel I had my 500 yards of sport weight yarn. The finished, plied yarn has about 11 twists per inch (4 per cm). I couldn’t tell you how many twists per inch were in the singles. The roving is light in color and the fibers are so fine that my eyes just could not make it out, lol.
There. Review is done. I liked it. If you’re a spinner I think you should give Dorset Down a try. You’ll probably like it too.
Now I just have to decide once and for all what to make with it. It won’t be a pair of socks, which was idea # 13. That got shot down (loudly) by my knit group who said it was far to lovely to be wasted on socks. It won’t be a pair of gloves, which was idea # 48, because 500 yds is waaaaay more than you need for gloves even opera-length ones. It (probably) won’t be a set of vintage-inspired wedding accessories, which was idea # 82. I don’t know as soon-to-be brides or groomsmen. But that was a good idea I think.
It might be something like this:
But don’t hold me to it. I might, just maybe, change my mind. Again.