It's a crisp day in the Rocky Mountains. I'm tucked into a bright space warmed by sunshine. I've been spinning Lincoln, which is one of the English luster longwools. They're called lustrous because they're brilliantly shiny. Yesterday I spun singles. Today I began combining them into a two-ply strand.
The three wraps of thicker, more matte, yarn on the right are part of the leader, or the length of yarn that stays on the bobbin as a starter. When the early morning sun came through the window at just the right angle, the contrast with the Lincoln was so dramatic that I stopped spinning and got out my camera.
The more Lincoln, the more the bobbin gleamed:
Lincoln is listed as a rare breed of sheep by both the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (North America) and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (British Isles). The realization that Lincolns were among the endangered breeds was what initially pushed me into learning more about the conservation of livestock.
The wool is long-stapled: each Lincoln sheep grows a lot of fiber in the course of a year. These sheep are sometimes shorn twice annually to keep the lengths manageable.
For the yarn I've been spinning, I combed the locks on my two-row St. Blaise combs. Sometimes people complain that there's a lot of waste from combing. There can be, depending on the fleece you're using and your techniques. But here's the waste from my combing of this Lincoln sample:
1 – A second cut.
2 – A bit of wool that didn't get completely clean (stuck together).
3 – Some short bits.
I could have salvaged 2 and 3, except that I'm spinning for a deadline. Most of the fiber in the batch ended up in the top that I pulled off the combs and spun into the bobbin shown above. Yet it's true that a fair amount was left in the tines, too short or tangled to be included in the top. I set those clumps aside each time I had pulled a length of top. When I was done preparing the top but before I set about spinning it, I picked the "leftovers" well to loosen any jumbled bits, and then I turned them into a small randomly textured skein, shown below with some classic Lincoln locks: shiny, gently waving, strong, and long (these are 6 to 7 inches/15 to 18cm).
Lincoln comes in a magical array of grays, too, but that's a story for another day, one without a pressing deadline.
Deadline or not, though, spinning Lincoln transforms ordinary moments into bright ones.