You may recall I mentioned that I bought a large amount of locks recently. As well as the tub washed Wensleydale locks I purchased, I also purchased 500g of washed first cut Teeswater locks. The Teeswater locks do not smell like the farm nor are they too sheepy. In fact, they are so lovely and soft. Here is a Wikipedia explanation of Teeswater sheep, but there is more information available. Teeswater sheep are primarily bred for their meat. The rams are crossed with hill sheep to create the Masham breed. They were nearly extinct in the 1920’s. They are a longwool breed with a high micron count of about 40-60. The fleece is strong and used for spinning, doll making and felting. Though I would expect it would be a tough felter as the fleece is heavy and the top part is more fluffy so that part would be the easiest to felt in I reckon and would make a nice fringe on a scarf. With regard to spinning, I would expect that this would make a nice strong yarn for weaving.
While watching the video on washing locks, I came across another video on knitting with locks and thought I would give it a go. I went to the haberdashers to buy some more yarn that was on sale and found a fine acrylic/wool blend in natural colors and decided to knit a sample with the locks. I was liking what I was making and decided to carry on knitting the locks into the scarf. Although the Teeswater locks are washed and in neat bundles, they still need to be sorted and pulled apart. I ended up with three piles: one pile for knitting, one pile for dyeing and fluff I cut mixed with locks not good enough for knitting or dyeing but useful for other things.
Here are the locks. The ones on the left are how they came, the ones in the middle are to be dyed (you can see how fluffy the top ends are) and the right is the fluff I cut or locks too thin for doing anything with (these will be good for adding texture).
After a few days of doing nothing but knitting, here we are all finished. I still need to weigh it, but there are about 200g of locks knitted in here. I am usually a quick knitter, but this was rather time consuming and is a one off.
This is the back of the scarf. The reason I carried on knitting was because this side was so soft against the neck which is the most important thing for me. The scarf is fairly heavy compared to a felted scarf, but it is oh so very cosy.
I need to recover a few days from making this scarf. I am considering using a clasp like this one to close it.
So that was definitely a project and something to tick off my list of unusual things to make. Should I need to order more locks again, I might consider purchasing second cut locks as I would expect that would be shorter and less weighty. I may need to move to a cold climate to really reap the benefit of this scarf! 🙂