Merino, Revisited

So, as you recall, I wasn’t in love with merino when I first tried to spin it–and it’s everywhere. Every cool fiber prep in all the neat colors–it’s all merino. And I’m just like “ugh, why do people like this? The staple is short. Sure it’s soft, but it’s not light and airy.”

But, y’all, in mixing the merino with this mystery crappy fiber, I am beginning to appreciate the wonders of merino. It sticks to everything. It’s like the cobwebs of wool. And it helps make everything it sticks to smooth and soft.

With my woolfriend, BFL, when you grab the end and pull the fibers apart, the fibers kind of poof out, like you’ve done the magic trick where you get a bouquet of flowers out of your magic wand. It’s like a fountain of long, soft fibers.

Which is great for spinning! It’s just one clump of long fiber after another. But they’re not particularly grabby. If you get a fat spot, you can kind of tug on it until the fibers slide apart and thin out.

Whereas when you grab the end of the merino and start pulling, if you pull slowly, fiber keeps coming. The individual staple length is short, but it holds onto its buddies.

So, mixing the BFL with the crappy fiber worked okay, but it was, in essence, just twisting the BFL and the crappy fiber together. You could still feel the scratchiness of the crappy fiber (though much lessened).

But the merino sticks to the crappy fiber. Pulls it along into the drafting zone. You’re don’t have to make sure that you’re also grabbing the crappy fiber. It’s right there.

I still love the shit out of spinning the BFL by itself. But I’m starting to come around on merino. And I can see why it was so valuable in the past. It’s not just that it, by itself, has the softness or whatever. It’s that it makes your other wool better.