Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spinner's Study: Targhee

The following is part of my continuing spinner's study on various wools.

Information about the Sheep Breed
Targhee Sheep are named after the Targhee National Forest where the breed were developed/grazed. (The forest was named for a chief of the Bannock Indians who had lived in the area in the 1860's.) This is a one of the youngest American breeds; developed in 1926 at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho.

Targhee sheep were bred from Rambouillet, Columbia, and Corriedale crosses. This is a dual-purpose sheep developed for meat & high quality wool. This sheep became popular and is now found in primarily in the Western United States -- Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota.

The Targhee is a large sheep and are naturally polled. Mature rams weigh from 200 to 300 pounds. Breeding ewes weigh from 140 to 200 pounds.

Targhee wool characteristics:
  • Considered a fine wool
  • Microns: 22.05 - 24.94
  • Count: 58s-64s
  • Staple length: 3-5inches

My Review: The Good & Bad
I picked up 2oz of Targhee wool from "A Verb for Keeping Warm" in the colorway, "Granite". I'll do a review of AVFKW wool, then a review of the Targhee itself.

The Bad
What I didn't like was AVFKW's dye process. During spinning, a lot of dye bled on my fingers of my drafting hand. I showed it to some fellow spinners who were with me at the time (I was at a spinning event), and they were surprised as well.

In addition, some of the wool seemed a bit felted from the dye'ing process. There were some small sections that just did not draft property and I fought with those parts or just tore them out of the roving. Also, the roving came in two parts: one long piece of consistent roving, then an extra .5 ounces of the same colorway that looked like they just stuffed in, in order to make the whole thing 2 oz. This extra "piece" did not look like it had been accidently ripped off either end of the roving as it wasn't the correct color in the sequence.

As this was my first purchase from AVFKW, it did not impress me.

Once I was done spinning, I washed the whole thing in white vinegar to help set the dye. (I'll probably rinse it with dye AGAIN once it's been knitted up just to ensure that it doesn't bleed)

Targhee Wool: -- The Good.

Despite the problems with the sample I bought, I really liked spinning this wool. It was soft, and didn't mind being spun thinly.

I really liked the colorway from AVFKW, and I wanted to preserve the change in color.

I split the longer piece of roving lengthwise, spun those into 2 bobbins worth singles in the same direction, then did balanced 2-ply with the bobbins.

The resulting yarn is lovely, balanced, and just so utterly soft. I *definitely* want to spin this wool again, but probably not from AVFKW.

1.5 oz. 259 yards of 2ply heavy fingering weight.
Targhee 2ply