Monday, June 17, 2013

Babydoll Southdown Wool

I really like babydoll Southdown wool for one big reason, it can be machine washed and dried without shrinking or felting. I have a pair of socks I made out of some babydoll Southdown that I dyed with Japanese indigo last summer. I've thrown them in with regular wash loads several times and dried them as well and they still fit and are still comfy and warm.

I purchased a raw babydoll Southdown fleece at the recent Great Lakes Fiber Show. It was a really nice mix of light shades of gray. Here's s portion of it getting ready for a wash:


You can see the shades of gray and the sun-bleached tips. I really liked the grays for themselves, but I thought that they would add a really nice depth to any color I might dye it, too:

I took about an ounce of the washed fiber and carded it up into a batt. Carding is the way to go with babydoll fiber because it has such a short fiber length - it wouldn't really work well on the combs.
I then divided the batt up into four sections and dyed each section a different color:

Then I mixed the colors on the drum carder:

Here's the mixed batt, I only ran it through the drum carder once. The colors would blend more fully with each successive run through the carder, but I wanted them more distinct:

And here's a ball of the carded roving ready to spin:

I went ahead and spun the whole one-ounce batt into a singles, then pulled off a bit and let it ply back on itself into a short length of two-ply and knitted up a quick swatch:

I think it'll make some nice, colorful socks. I'm planning on carding and dyeing and spinning another three ounces in the same colors for a nice, 2-ply skein of sock yarn for wool socks that don't have to be hand washed and lain out to dry!


Katelyn said...

I'm almost done with a pair of ankle socks I'm making from this yarn you made. I ran a test swatch through the washer and dryer and you're very right about the washability. What a perfect wool for socks! I'll send you a picture when I get them done.

ICQB said...

Hi Katelyn!

I'd love to see a pic when you're done! It is an amazing wool for ease of washability. All of the down breeds are supposed to share this characteristic, but babydoll Southdown is the only one of the down breeds I've used so far.