Something I discovered by visiting their website is their commitment to use fiber from happy sheep -by this I mean healthy, well-cared for sheep. Abuelita has even obtained a certificate of non-mulesing, a hotly disputed practice which will turn up some pretty grotesque descriptions and photos if you choose to google it. They also pledge to protect the environment in Uruguay through various conservation efforts which you can read about in greater detail here on their website. Sustainability and social responsibility is something that is important to many of us in the fiber community, so I hope that the folks at Abuelita will share more details about their efforts with us in the future!
|My two braids of Merino Top from Abuelita Yarns|
As the focus shift more and more towards breed-specific fibers in the handspinning world, it seems that lovely merinos get lost in the shuffle; for me personally, it's been quite some time since I worked with this fiber, and it was nice to rediscover the incredibly softness. After working on some long-term spinning projects which were rewarding but a little on the fussy side, it was nice to sit down and just SPIN. I did very little prep on this fiber (it didn't need it), I just predrafted each roving into 4 long strips and went for it. It was a fast, fun spinning experience!
|Spinning In Progress!|
The resulting skeins are beyond soft and squishy, and I can't wait to knit with them! I have approximately 95 yards of the grey 2-ply and 100 yards of the green 2-ply, and I think they will become a colorwork hat in the near future.
|Finished skeins of handspun yarn from Abuelita Merino Top.|
This technique is actually used more for a woolen-spun yarn since those singles are often quite lofty and in need of more "oomph" to avoid breakage when knitting with them, but it can of course be used of any single-ply yarn. Not only does it add strength, but it decreases the amount of pilling you'll experience later down the road. For a short-staple fiber such as Merino, I could see this being a boon to the finished yarn - with softness often comes pills!
Obviously, if you are spinning with a superwash fiber, this technique wouldn't be effective, and not all breeds of sheep fibers felt in the same manner, so you can really explore the felting qualities of each breed if you are so inclined. Merino fiber is great for felting due to the short fiber staple, but I would love to hear about your experiments with various fibers, too!