Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Worldwide wool market & Gottland Mittens update

OK, so I've fallen behind on the Gottland mitten project! The yarn is all spun (these are the final 5 colors) and the first pair underway, but.....just 10 days left to go. So....

First I cut out the idea of lining them all with angora. Then, thinking that my sister in law would not really wear mittens anyway (maybe I'm trying to justify my actions here?), I thought I'd use one of the Gottland mitten designs (a couple of the graphs are shown above) and knit her a little knitting accessory case (what knitter can't use something to store stitch holders, ring markers, snipets, etc?).

And then this morning, I decided that maybe the knitting accessory pouch is a more useful gift for EACH of my sisters too! So now the Gottland Mitten project has evolved to the Gottland Knitting Accessory case to better suit my time (and sanity) and their needs!

So don't be surprised next week when you see little lined accessory cases and not mittens!

When spinning the fleeces, it was REALLY noticeable how much softer the American Gottland fleece (that was upbreeded from Finn) was compared to the New Zealand Gottland fleece (that clearly used one of the long wool breeds for upbreeding). Although it was clear from the original photos of the 2 fleeces that the New Zealand Gottland was more lustrous, as you'd expect from a long wool foundation cross, the Finn foundation fleece is still lustrous and so much softer.

I guess the takehome learning from this is that, since the American Gottland association allows so many and varied foundation breeds, the American Gottlands will be quite a diverse group!
On another note....I've been speaking with wool brokers lately since I'm trying to procure a bale of fine wool (a bale is about 660 pounds) and having trouble. Apparently, because last summer was so cold in New Zealand (I didn't realize this, but they had so much snow after lambing that over 1 million lambs died) the fine wool available from the last clip was much less than usual. And with demand from China, there is no merino wool anywhere that isn't spoken for. Not S. America, not downunder, and not S. Africa...unless you want 11,000 pounds! Which, needless to say, is beyond my current requirements! So I guess I have to wait for the fall clip this spring (since they're all in the other hemisphere!).