This past weekend the Swedish spinning championships 2020 were decided. Usually I visit the championships, but due to the pandemic it wasn’t a public event this year. For this reason I have no pictures from the championships to show you. The prize ceremony was live streamed, though.
There were two categories in the spinning championships. All contestants got the same wool to work with and we could choose preparation and spinning method and tools ourselves. The categories were
- a 2-ply embroidery yarn from Swedish Leicester wool
- the thinnest 10 gram 2-ply yarn from Swedish Jämtland wool.
I registered for both of the categories, but I only submitted my yarn for the embroidery category. More about that below.
Swedish Leicester wool is long, strong and shiny. Swedish Leicester is, just like Swedish Gotland, bred for the pretty skins and has basically outercoat only. The wool we got came from a farm that has received numerous medals in previous championships.
The strength of the Swedish Leicester wool is suitable for embroidery yarn since it won’t break or fuzz despite repeated agitation when threaded through the fabric. The shine gives an extra focus on the yarn in the embroidery.
I combed the wool twice with my medium combs with a combing station. First I combed the locks into tops. When I had finished I placed two or three tops together and combed once more. To get the tops even I dizzed them. I spun the yarn worsted on a suspended spindle. To make the yarn stay rounded in the embroidery I chose to spin with quite a high twist. I plied the yarn on a spinning wheel.
And the winner is…
I ended up with the gold medal for my embroidery yarn! I was very happy with the result when I submitted it, and even happier now that I won. The motivation was:
“An even and lovely yarn for the purpose with a nice thickness and well plied, which results in perfect loops for sewing.”
A huge and warm thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have already congratulated me on my Facebook page and on Instagram. I am very proud of this gold medal, and perhaps a little extra proud that the gold medal went to a spindle spun yarn.
Embroidery yarn plans
The yarn and the medal will come to me in the mail one of these days, together with a diploma. My plan is to A: Wear the medal all day with a silly grin on my face, B: Post a picture for you with my medal and my silly grin and C: Do something with my embroidery yarn. I bought a new to me dyeing system this summer (bengala mud dyes) and I may split the yarn in a few smaller skeins and play with different colours. I am positive that the lustre in the Leicester locks will be spectacular when dyed. And then I will embroider my little heart out!
I was hesitant from the start about the thinnest yarn category. I have done it several times for the Bothwell longest thread competition. It does take a lot of work and strain. This time was no exception and after around 5 grams I decided to withdraw. It took too much work, time and pain and it wasn’t worth it. So I withdrew and published an online course instead.
Jämtland wool has some merino in it and has very fine fibers. I have worked with Jämtland wool before and discovered that it is perfect for spinning from the fold, provided that it is long enough. This is what I did this time too – I opened up the individual staples with a flicker and spun from the fold on a supported spindle.
I spent many evenings spinning this yarn and when I decided to withdraw I was happy I made the decision.
The gold medalist of this category ended up with a super impressive 380 meters in her 10 gram skein (about 200 meters more than the silver medalist)!
Wool is in the air
The fleece and spinning championships are one of the wool highlights of the year for me. This is when I bury my hands in seemingly endless rows of high quality fleece. It is also the time when I meet the loveliest spinners, shepherdesses and other wooly people. There are always friendly people to ask and learn from and I cherish every moment. It is an event where I forget time and space and just savour the smell, the abundance, the subtle natural colours and the sparkles from the fresh lanolin. Wool is in the air on the fleece and spinning championships.
No picture of yummy fleece here.
When people ask me how I know from whom to buy fleece this is my answer: I find my shepherdesses at the fleece championships. I see who gets the medals, a handful of shepherdesses get numerous medals for their fleeces and some even get medals in both the fleece championships and the spinning championships. Shepherdesses who know what I want as a spinner and who consider the wool quality when they plan the breeding.
No picture of yummy fleece here either.
I always buy fleece at the auction that always follows the championships. Every year I have cuddled with the fleeces and talked to shepherdesses all day and come the auction I know which fleeces I plan to take home with me. I talk to the shepherdesses to find out more about the sheep – does it have a name, is the fleece a typical fleece for this breed or cross, what does she think is special about it and so on. I make a bond with these talented women and commit to make the yarn from the sheep they have cared for shine.
None of this happened this year. I got a medal that I am very proud of and I got to see which fleece got which medal. There will even be an online auction of the fleeces. But it still doesn’t come near the real thing and I can’t post juicy pictures of pile upon pile of fleece. Like with most events these days.
If you, like me, miss the real thing you are more than welcome to read the post from last year’s fleece championships (lots of yummy pictures of fleece here!). And I hope I can come to next year’s event.
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