I’ve spun up samples of two of the new wools.
First was some Masham. It’s just a bit rough in the hand. The roving splits easily, and opening it up to spin (pre-drafting) is easy. Set the wheel to the most open of configurations; as it’s not supposed to like, “too much twist”. Had some trouble with it, mostly because I was afraid of getting too fine, and overtwisting it. Some of it was undertwisted, which made plying a bit of a hassle. Seems to have a nice drape. It’s a bit prickly for next to the skin, but would probably be good for warp in a tweed, or for sweaters, etc.
I got about 60 yards of singles, but with the plying problems I made for myself, only 57 yards of 2-ply from the oz. I had to spin.
Next was some Polwarth. Very soft in the hand. Loftier, as roving, than the Masham. A bit stickier. It took more work to pre-draft. Moderately grabby at first, but a very even spinner. The only word (and I was using it a lot) I can think of to convey how nice it was to spin is, that it was, “creamy”. It was very steady as it moved onto the bobbin (though I think I am being too attentive when working the samples. I want to see how they behave, and how they will best spin; so I’m seeing what people say about it, and trying to match that. I’m not sure this is doing justice to the experience I’ve built up) I do think I can do pretty much what I want with it. It’s very smooth when spun up, even with a woolen treatment. I’ll bet I can spin 3-ply lace weight with it, on the wheel.
I am glad I didn’t start with it though, as it’s got more “tooth” than Merino (and a lot more than Alpaca). In the very beginning it would have been hard to manage because it’s so responsive; any of the problems which come from lack of skill/co-ordination would be magnified. Then, when I got the hang of it, that same responsiveness would have been too kind. The Alpaca, and Romney, and even the sort of finicky Merino I spun, required me to be attentive, in ways the Polwarth doesn’t. But now that I’ve got some skill, I’m going to be spinning a lot of this, because it’s really easy to keep fairly even.
I already have a cable-project in mind, and the first two oz. of that have already started going onto bobbins.