Notes on Wool: Sample #1

Through my Notes on Wool series, I explore various types of wool available in Morocco. As a new spinner, I am also using this opportunity to learn about the process of turning raw wool into yarn suitable for knitting (my preferred craft medium). What follows are the steps I took, their results, and my observations so that I don’t forget what I’ve learned.

Approximately 600 grams of unknown fleece from a Moroccan couch maker located in Rabat’s Old City. He uses this wool to stuff the long, bench-like couches that flank living room walls.


A close-up of the unknown wool. It appears to have been washed as it does not have a greasy feel and it is fairly free of debris. However, it still has bits of VM and possible feces and urine marks from the sheep. This is not a complete fleece and appears to be odds and ends mixed together.


The staple length appears to be between 5.25 inches and 7.5 inches. The fibers appear to be quite smooth with very little to no crimp.


After 3 to 4 passes through the combs, the fibers line up nicely and almost all of the VM is gone. I removed a few noils as I combed, but there remain a few. The combed wool has a rustically soft hand, and it feels quite fluffy.


The combed top pulls through my makeshift diz fairly easily. The staple is fairly long, so I am able to pull in long-ish chunks.


I encountered a couple of noils as I pulled the top through my diz. I carefully removed these to create as smooth a top as possible.


A close-up of the combed top.


I’m still new to spinning and am working on consistency. My preferred mode of spinning is park-and-draft. I used a top whorl Ashford spindle and a mostly worsted draft.


I used very hot tap water with some dish soap in it to set the twist. There probably shouldn’t have been so many suds, but I think it worked, anyway. After filling up my wash basin, I placed the skein on top and allowed it to sink to the bottom of its own accord. Once on the bottom, I let it soak there a few minutes more. Then, I gently removed it from the bath, rinsed my sink out and filled it with very hot tap water. I let the skein soak in this for a few minutes before removing it, gently squeezing out the water, and then laying it out to dry.


I used US 7 knitting needles to make a swatch.


This swatch was soaked in cold water and gently pinned to dry. There are 15.5 stitches in 4 inches and 23 rows in 4 inches. It has an overall fuzzy halo, and the feel is rustic but soft. It is less scratchy than Icelandic wool and could be worn next bare skin on your arm. I wore it tucked into the collar of my shirt for half an hour and did not notice it too much.

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