Stymied by ailing kidlets, high school tours and sports days, the Tuff Socks Naturally spinning has stalled briefly. I can however, announce the winner of the Ryeland washed locks giveaway. Congratulations to Tina, your Tuff Socks Naturally spin-your-own-adventure is on its way!
In this spinning lull, I want to share with you a recently finished sweater.
This one is for the favourite gentleman in our life who asked for a lightweight but warm sweater he could wear to work. He picked out a beautiful tweedy yarn from Jamieson and Smith Jumperweight 2 ply which was a real treat for me to knit as I mostly knit with Australian farm yarns. The shade is 58 FC, a lovely rustic chocolate tweed but very hard to photograph.
The pattern is Helm, a CustomFit pattern from Amy Herzog. If you don’t know about CustomFit, it is a system designed by Herzog to customise knitting designs to fit individual sets of measurements and gauges. I’ve been wanting to try this for ages and since my bloke is shortish but broad in the shoulders and wanted a set-in sleeve, this knit was the ideal candidate. The system has loads of potential for using handspun in commercial patterns too.
I am super pleased with the results, as is the bloke. As this was such a plain knit, I focused on the details, finishing with twisted stitch 1 x 1 rib for the cuffs and hem and using a selvage stitch to set the shaping stitches one stitch in. With careful seaming, the edges look satisfyingly professional especially the armholes and neck.
Today’s post is one in a series called Tuff Socks Naturally, an open, collaborative project exploring more sustainable alternatives to superwash and nylon in sock yarn. You can join in on the discussion, share pics and projects on this blog or Local and Bespoke or on instagram using the hashtag #tuffsocksnaturally.
In the last post we met the Ryeland sheep and explored its dramatic history. In this post, I will share with you how I have prepared the fleece for spinning.
I washed the Ryeland fleece to preserve the lock structure for a worsted sock preparation in tulle parcels secured with safety pins. It looks time consuming but the time and waste it saves later when you are trying to separate locks from a fluffy mass is significant.
I know folks often card Ryeland for woollen spinning but these locks were 9 cm which is longish for woollen carding. For socks, I am still wanting the strength and smoothness of worsted preparation and spinning so I wanted to keep those fibres aligned. However, after Local and Bespoke’s fine example I decided to drum card to save time. A friend had lent me a drum carder for another project but the timing was serendipitous and enabled me to prepare lots of fibre quickly. I fed the locks in parallel with the guides and took the batt off as a blanket to strip down the direction of the locks rather than rolled into a rolag.
Then I set to sampling. My previous Tuff Socks have used the traditional 3ply, high twist sock spin but with this pair, I wanted to experiment with some different spinning approaches. Other spinners have been experimenting for years with socks spins so I thought it would be fun to take advantage of their discoveries and compare two tested spinning methods against each other. The two spins I am going to use are
- Sarah Anderson’s Opposing Ply Yarn
- Rachel Smith’s High Grist 2 Ply Yarn
Sarah Anderson documented her Great Sock Yarn Experiment in The Spinners Book of Yarn Designs (2012). She compared the standard 3 ply sock yarn, to a chain plied 3 ply yarn, an opposing ply 3 ply and a 4 ply cabled yarn. She tested this using Merino fibre and found that the chain plied yarn wore out more quickly that the traditional 3 ply but the opposing ply and cabled yarn outperformed the traditional 3 ply. A 4 ply cabled yarn is a bridge too far for me in terms of time spent spinning for a sock but the opposing ply intrigued me.
But how would it stand up against Rachel Smith’s daring sock yarn? You might know Rachel from her blog Welford Purls/Wool’n’Spinning. Her yarn is a 2 ply which she spun to a much higher density than a normal 2 ply. This yarn outperformed a traditional 3 ply sock yarn in ‘A Down Breed Sock Experiment’ PLY, Issue 6, Spring 2017. The exciting thing about this spin is that it would take a third of the time of the opposing ply yarn.
The 2 ply sampled quite quickly as Rachel Smith had included a lot of useful information in her article. The Opposing Ply in contrast, is taking a lot of sampling to make it balanced. The idea is that you spin two singles in Z direction and ply in an S direction. Then you ply again in a Z direction together with another single that was spun in an S direction. The two opposing plies create elasticity and strength drawing the yarn more densely together. However, Sarah Anderson’s book provides very little information other than twist direction and it has been challenging working out the twist rates for each plying round that leaves you with a balanced yarn. I think I have got it worked now but I think I may have melted my mind a little.
I will do one sock in each spin, so that as a pair they will receive exactly the same amount of wear. I won’t use mohair in these as I really do want see some kind of wear over time (and I already know that mohair reinforcing is amazingly effective).
So, that is the plan I lay before you. The next Tuff Socks Naturally post will focus on the yarn spinning. If my words have excited you to a little Tuff Socks Naturally adventuring of your own, I have 150 grams of Ryeland locks to give away to someone bursting to spin them up into socks right away. You can spin them any way you like, just share your findings with us on this blog or using the #tuffsocksnaturally tag on Instagram. Let me know if you want to spin the Ryeland in the comments and I will do that random draw thing and let you know.
Thanks for all your encouraging, supportive comments on my last post. Sometimes the gap between what we want to do and what we are able to do is frustratingly wide.
Today’s post is one in a series called Tuff Socks Naturally, an open, collaborative project exploring more sustainable alternatives to superwash and nylon in sock yarn. You can join in on the discussion, share pics and projects on this blog or Local and Bespoke or on Instagram using the hashtag #tuffsocksnaturally.
Meet the Ryeland sheep.
Coloured Ryeland ram, UK, copyright Richard Webb, Wiki Commons
And now meet some fleece, clearly not from the same sheep.
This beautiful looking fleece is grown in south west Victoria on the Hallyluya Stud Farm. I accidentally discovered Ryeland when I noticed that a crossbreed fleece did not felt. Tuff Socks 1 and Tuff Socks 2 made use of that crossbreed and it was so remarkable, I wanted to try the single breed. As you can see, it is springy, the locks are a little disorganised and have pointy tips.
Ryeland is often grouped together with with Downs sheep like Suffolk and Shropshire because of the felting resistance and crunchy, springy handle of the fibre. However, it has quite different origins and The Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook (2009), places the breed quite separately to the Downs sheep. It is one of the oldest of the British sheep breeds, predating the development of the Downs sheep. In medieval times, (12 century ish), there were long wool sheep and short wool sheep. Ryeland come from the short wool sheep and were at that time, a fine wool sheep, rivaling Spanish Merino. For centuries, Ryeland fleece was used for luxury hosiery. We could assume because it was so fine, soft, elastic and resistant to felting. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? But the Ryeland of the 21C, is not the same sheep. It is relatively fine but nothing like Merino or even a soft Finn, not next-to-the skin. Something happened to the Ryeland sheep breed to change the fleece dramatically.
In his fascinating book Counting Sheep (2014) Philip Walling explores what happened to the Ryeland sheep. The tale had me gripped. In the mid eighteenth century in England, a farmer called Robert Blackwell set about improving his sheep through a radical breeding program. He transformed the medieval wool producing, Leicester longwool sheep into a modern, fast growing, carcass sheep. This sheep was called the Dishley or New Leicester and it was used to ‘improve’ other breeds of sheep. In fact, Walling claims, ‘there is not a breed of sheep in the industrial societies of the Western world that does not have at least a little of the blood of Bakewell’s Dishley Leicester running through its veins’.
The New Leicester was thought to improve almost every breed of sheep it was introduced to, increasing milk production, fecundity, flesh to bone ratio and vigour. Its descendant, the Border Leicester is still used to improve the lambing rate and meat production of many commercial sheep breeds including Merino. It was a good news story for the industrial farming revolution except for the Ryeland. The crossing turned the Ryeland into a meat sheep at the expense of fineness of the fleece. The loss of the fineness was irrevocable. The loss saddens me, as we try to use technology to transform Merino fibres into something more durable and washable, when we had those qualities right there, in a fine fleece up until about 250 years ago.
James Ward, Ryelands Sheep, The King’s Ram, The King’s Ewe, and Lord Somerville’s Wether, c. 1801-1807
This painting depicts a sheep significantly leaner and finer boned than the modern Ryeland which is interesting as it was probably around this period that the breed would have been ‘improved’. The Lord Somerville mentioned in the title was a prominent sheep breeder and the largest owner of Merino at the time, which makes sense if we consider that Ryeland was formally a fine wool sheep.
So whilst, I won’t be able to use Ryeland to spin stockings Elizabeth I would have favoured, the elasticity and felting resistance are still excellent, useful characteristics for Tuff Socks. As a Rare Breed Sheep in Australia, it is also important that we support the viability of the breed.
In the next post you can see how I prepared the Ryeland fleece for spinning.
I had every intention of posting a craft post this week.
Instead, I am waiting purposefully for some energy to return. I came across that phrase recently, listening to the wonderful Saga Land by Richard Fildler and Kari Gislason. It describes perfectly the kind of waiting you do whilst fishing or (I think) recovering from illness.
Just when you think you are almost a normal person, CFS/ME likes to give you a bit of whack around the head to remind you about pacing, being careful, going slow blah blah. Over the last week, I’ve had various kids sick, the dog sick, parent/teacher information nights, an indigo vat success and miscellaneous family errands to run and now I find myself unable to walk in a straight line. Making school lunches this morning was like getting through a physics exam when you studied for geography and any kind of moving feels like dragging someone’s else body up a muddy hill.
So sorry, no tales of Tuff Socks or natural dyeing derring do this week, I reckon I can manage to stick one photo in and that’s my limit. See you next week, bonny and blithe.
Acquisitions and Discoveries is a special segment on Sarah Hunt’s Fibertrek, a podcast about wool and place. I love the name as it shifts the focus away from the consumption of new products to something that invites more curiousity, something that an entomologist or an ethnologist might report on. It suggestions a process of investigation and exploration.
In that light then, I have two Acquisitions and Discoveries to report on.
The first is a beautiful new fibre from Granite Haven, sent to me to sample. It is a pure, undyed Gotland top processed by Cashmere Connections and it is wonderous to behold, handle, spin and knit.
The colour is classic Gotland gray, a stunning dark silver. Often during processing, the lustre of Gotland is lost, but Cashmere Connections have managed to retain the shine and luminescence of the fleece. Part of this light must come from the blending of many different shades of grey into the fibre. The handle is silky soft and can be worn next to the skin.
I spun it straight from the top which is wide and generous, almost like a batt. I spun it with a modified worsted draw, letting some twist come into the drafting zone pulling the top back slowly and smoothing with my fingers. In my experience Gotland, seems to need a little woollen loft in the spin.
The yarn was heavenly to knit and bloomed significantly after washing. It would make a sturdy yet luxurious garment. I see it as a long line cardigan with enough ease that you could wrap it around you a bit…with deep pockets perhaps.
This fibre is grown, scoured and processed entirely in Victoria and is available on the Granite Haven website for $28 AUD per 200 g.
The second fibre I want to share is undyed flax top from FeltFine. I got this because I’ve fallen in love with Tegna (like so many other folks) and thought it would be fun to spin for. This fibre preparation is quite different from the traditional flax line and tow preparations. It has been processed more like wool. There aren’t super long fibres in this, nor super short so it doesn’t tangle or ball in the spinning and it is quite fine in comparison to other flax I’ve spun. The top form is ideal for blending with other fibres and I still spun it with wet fingers.
To sample, I blended the flax with some fine wool on hand carders, spun a two ply fingering weight and it knitted up with just the right amount of drape and elasticity for my purposes and will soften with wear. This is definitely flax made easy.
The product is from Europe via UK and imported into Australia but that’s all I know of its origins. It is available from FeltFine for $7.00 per 100 g. They have bleached and blended preparations too.
Disclaimer: No one has asked me to write about these fibres and I receive no income from doing so. If I didn’t like the product, I simply wouldn’t write about it.
For me, the year doesn’t really begin until February 1st, just after the school year begins. From Christmas till then, the days are full of family, holiday trips and summer heat. This year we visited Tasmania and did some short walks at Cradle Mountain.
We also had some lovely river camping in north central Victoria.
I have enough energy to participate in family holidays now rather than just attend. I am still not doing everything but my strength and stamina grow gradually every month. And in between family activities, I was still able to get some small spins done.
This is 100g of a two ply, semi woollen sportsweight yarn, spun from Gotland and llama prepared top from Granite Haven Farm. This was going to be for a small shawl to knit on holidays but I took the wrong needles. Now, I think it is rather too tweedy for a lace shawl so perhaps it will become a hat instead.
This is 100g of a two ply, semi woollen fingering weight yarn from First Editions prepared top, 80% merino and 20% camel. This was from deep stash and I’ve been meaning to make it up for ages. Both these yarns were part of an exploration in increasing my spinning speed, finding a balance between the speed of a woollen draw and the durability of a worsted preparation. The commercial preparation of course reduces the time spent preparing from fleece. This kind of yarn is perfect for low abrasion projects such as shawls, scarfs and hats.
Here you see 60g of a two ply, worsted lace weight from a Border Leceister x Merino fleece. I spun up 100 grams of this a few months ago and decided after spinning to use it for a Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. I didn’t have quite enough yardage but thanks to the super nerdy documentation I have been maintaining recently, I had all the ratios and samples I needed to duplicate that yarn. I do feel a bit proud of that skein…it really does match the original yarn.
Being holidays and away from home, I got quite a bit of knitting done. I finished this beautiful shawl/ette/scarf in Tasmania from birthday yarn and needles. The yarn is Knitcraft and Knittery Fingering Weight Merino, grown and dyed in Tasmania from New Merino, an ethical, sustainable yarn base. The colour is Sandilocks and it is a luminous, slightly variegated shade of mustard, the colour of late summer in Australia. The yarn itself is a treat to knit, firmly spun with great stitch definition and very soft. The pattern is Old Vine by Knox Mountain Knit Co. I enjoyed the knit so much, I bought some alpaca fingering weight from The Alpaca Shoppe in Deloraine and knit up another birthday shawl for a friend.
I also made some headway on a large project for the lovely gentleman in my life, a CustomFit Helm by Amy Herzog in the deeply tweedy 58FC 2 ply Jumperweight by Jamieson and Smith.
The front and back and one sleeve are done and I’ve started the second sleeve.
Ooops, I also forgot to post these from last year…the sister pair to these Goldfields Mitts I posted way back in August last year. The fushia pink yarn is spun from merino top I won from the Australian Sheep and Wool Show some years ago and the white yarn is Paton’s Herdwick from an op shop. The pattern is Selbu Mittens from Norweigan Knits by Suzanne Pagoldh.
Phew! All caught up now and ready for a brand new year. More Tuff Socks Naturally, more fleeces explored, more dyeing, more knitting, more health, more vigour, more life.
Compliments of the season to you all. Our Dear Girl made this card.
This is my last post for 2017. Needle & Spindle will be having a wee rest over the Festive Season and probably most of the January school holidays too. Thank you for being such enthusiastic, loyal readers this year. I have cherished this space and the return of making and sharing to my life.
Before things wind down (up) too much before Christmas, I thought it timely to update the Tuff Socks Naturally project. This project is an open, collaborative project, a spinning and knitting adventure, exploring natural, local, more sustainable alternatives to the current superwash and nylon sock yarns and fibres.
I just finished my second pair of socks for the project, a 3 ply worsted sock yarn hand spun from a Corriedale x Ryeland x Finn fleece from Lucinvale Fleeces, reinforced at heels and toes with a mohair laceweight spun up from fifth clip mohair locks from Mohair Rare. I will post these properly next year with all their geeky deets.
Now, let’s catch up with the other Tuff Socks comrades. Mary from Local & Bespoke has just finished spinning and knitting a lovely pair of cabled socks from a blend of Blue Faced Leceister, Texel and Silk. She spun these fine with a tight twist and they look super handsome.
My first pair of no nylon, non super wash socks for the #tuffsocksnaturally project. These might be more natural than tough, because I overachieved and the yarn is spun so finely. Whimsical cables on #handspunyarn #texel #bluefacedleicester #silk blend. #knittersofinstagram #spinnersofinstagram #knitting #sockknittersofinstagram #sock
Adele has one half of pair of socks hand spun and knitted from Shropshire tops from Shropshire Woolies and she’s made some sample swatches to test machine washing.
I didn’t quite spin enough for my tuff socks so they have been put on hold while I wait for a glitch in my wheel to get fixed. I used what I had left over from the first sock to knit some swatches for experimenting on. The left is before washing and the right is after a wash at 90 degrees. I never wash anything at 90 degrees but I wanted to see what would happen to the fibre. It shrunk ever so slightly but not enough that it would alter the fit of the sock. Marilyn at Shropshire Woollies recommends spinning a woollen yarn. I was a bit hesitant for socks as woollen lacks the durability of worsted so I compensated by adding an extra ply. I am glad that I did this as the fabric blooms and is definitely soft enough for even the most anti wool people in our lives (especially on bare toes) I am looking forward to seeing how well these wear once the weather cools down. I also want to try some worsted spun to see what kind of fabric I get. So much to explore… #tuffsocksnaturally #handspunyarn #shropshirewoollies
We’ve also had some other folks join our open sock exploration. Clare Devine from Knit Share Love made a pair of socks in Blacker Yarns Mohair Sock. She wore them non stop on a UK trip for a month and will be sharing her thoughts on how they went in the new year. Look out for a post on her blog.
Lauren Champs from South Australia is going to be making a pair of bushwalking socks from this lovely Shropshire wool.
day 16 // [future] socks I’m tagging along on the #tuffsocksnaturally exploration that @rebeccaspindle @adelemoon and @localandbespoke are doing. This here Shropshire wool from Victoria will eventually be spun and knitted into a pair of socks that I’m hoping will be resistant to felting and make rather lovely bushwalking socks. #wovemberinstachallenge #wearwooleveryday #wearwoolforwovember
Josh Moll from the Netherlands made these walnut dyed socks, reinforcing the heels with a strand of mohair.
Somebody else stole my just finished #bakerybearspodcast #snowfall socks. My daughter loves them too. I will knit new ones for myself and she can wear them in her hiking boots. #tuffsocksnaturally #strickenisttoll #stricken #knitting #tricoter #breien #breienisleuk #tricotercestcool #knittingaddict #knittingforfriends #knittersofinstagram #knittersoftheworld #designersofinstagram #knitweardesign #themakersyear #nevernotmaking #designlife #designinspiration #designdecisions #designprocess #ilovethiswork
It is super exciting seeing the socks starting to emerge on Instagram. We are using the tag #tuffsocksnaturally. Please use the tag for any fibre selections, spinning and knitting experiments and finished socks that fit the project theme. You can also share any information or links in the comments sections of this blog or Local & Bespoke.
After all the festive flusterings are done and it is time to start thinking of the New Year, why not start with a freshly spun/knitted pair of socks for the tuffsocksnaturally project. Do join us!
I look forward to seeing you back here next year.
Oh, there are so many things we should be doing…but sometimes things happen that are not procrastinations to be overcome or distractions to be ignored but digressions to be followed. I am practicing identifying and following the digressions, the little trickles of enthusiasm that lead ultimately to the sea of creativity, inspiration and life flow.
Here are a couple of my wanderings amidst the lists and directed activities.
About a month ago, our family visited the Ballarat Show and had the great fortunate to be just in time for a marvellous shearing display. The sheep were Corriedales, but Corriedales like none I had encountered before…the fleece was finer than fine. The farmer passed handfuls of fleece to the children watching. My children automatically passed theirs to me without disturbing the lock structure in the slightest (yes, well trained minions). The fleece looked like Merino but I knew I was definitely looking at Corriedale sheep. The farmer told me, he was breeding for fineness as those fleeces get a better price and at 26 micron, the fleeces were matching the lower end of Merino!
The yarn is elastic like Merino but easier to spin, more like Polwarth. It blocked beautifully. If I wanted to make a fine, heirloom shawl, I wouldn’t worry about Merino, I would track down that farmer and get some of that Corriedale. It was superb.
My next little foray didn’t look so auspicious. I had ordered a bag of ‘fine white alpaca’ from a secondary school in Melbourne where a friend teaches. They raise alpacas and were selling their annual shearing at $10 a bag. I thought a bag of white alpaca would be handy for blending and if it was full of chaff or really coarse, well $10 is not a big risk. The fleece I got was from an alpaca called Skywalker and looked like this.
If you are an alpaca newbie like me, you might be a little underwhelmed at this stage especially if you saw it in the bottom of a feed sack. I was expecting short crimpy staples, not matted, lanky hair. Well…it turns out this is Suri alpaca, not the more common Huacaya. Suri fibre is long, lustrous like silk and fine like cashmere but alpacas like to roll and Suri fibre gets matted with dirt. It is the ultimate diamond in the rough. After washing, and washing, I spun up a soft, woollen two ply laceweight.
It feels just wonderful and the colour is a beautiful, dusty beige. At eight times warmer than wool, this would make an incredible light, warm layer in winter. Unlike the Corriedale, the Suri has no elasticity so blocks and drapes amazingly well as lace. I also want to try combing and spinning from top, for a true worsted that highlights the lustre. It is so lovely, I can think of several projects already I’d like to spin this Suri for.
Shearing in Victoria seems to start in mid October and run through December. Some farms run open days where you can pick out the fleeces you want, others send out fleeces by the kilo in the post and others take orders prior to shearing.
I’ve had a special fleece on order for months and months. During the Spinning Certificate course, we were fortunate to sample many different kinds of sheep breeds and one fleece in particular really sang to me. It was a Finn x Corriedale fleece that really hit the sweetness note between softness and structure, lushness and durability.
That small sample became socks. Both the spinning and the knitting were a sublime experience and really wanted more time with this crossbreed. This week I was able to visit Fairfield Finns, near Bacchus Marsh and pick up my long awaited fleece.
Maureen Shepherd, the aptly named farmer of this flock had set aside two crossbreed fleeces for me and I picked the one that had the more open crimp, the more Finn-like qualities. Here, it is in all its glory on the wool table, a 3/4 Finn 1/4 Corriedale fleece. It is a wonderful fleece, not a hint of tenderness, springy and clean despite being uncoated. Maureen prepares all these fleeces beautifully, there is not a lock of lower quality nor a second cut to be seen. Every fleece is unrolled for your inspection.
I do think Fairfield Finns produce excellent fleeces. Their fleeces win many awards at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show and as Maureen is also a spinner, knitter and weaver, she knows what handspinners want in a fleece and these sheep are bred for softness, colour and handle.
This is Ben, the bottlefed sheep who came over to greet us on our way out. He is a real charmer, beguiling our group with whispers and kisses. I know the spinner who bought his lovely fleece, she got to meet him a week earlier, person to sheep. It is always a thrill to spin from someone you have met. I am not sure who my fleece came from, but I stood on the earth that raised it and that feels like a great gift.
I also bought the other half of that black fleece you can see in the bag there.
My plans for the white fleece are to wash it by the lock, comb it and spin the best darn 3 ply sportsweight I can, dye it naturally and then transform all that preparation into a cardigan with lots of twisted stitches and travelling stitches. And when you say it like that, it sounds like a doddle, belying the hundred or so hours that lie within such a project.
So thank you to all the farmers who look after their sheep and their land to keep bringing us an infinitely useful resource, that with our skills, time and the simplest of tools and processes, we can transform into warm, durable garments.
If you are local and you like the sound of Finnsheep, there are still fleeces available and an Open Day is planned for April.
This is a lovely variegated Shropshire fleece that comes from Shropshire Woollies, a sheep farm in the Strathbogie Ranges of Victoria. You can see there are three separate colours here, a dark brown, a light silver grey and a mid grey.
I purchased a kilo of this as part of the Tuff Socks Naturally project which explores alternatives to superwash merino and nylon blends for sock knitting. Like many downs fleeces, Shropshire resists felting so may be machine washable, making it a good candidate for sock spinning. I will talk more about Shropshire fleeces in a subsequent post but right now I want to chat about washing it.
Recently, I have become a lock washing convert but I wasn’t sure if that would be a useful method in the case of a downs fleece where the staples are blocky and sit firmly together in bricks. I tried washing the dark brown by the lock, row upon row laid out in a laundry bag and secured with safety pins. To compare, I packed another laundry bag loosely with fleece and then scoured both in the same way.
I use the hottest water I can get out of the hot tap and Handy Andy, an Australian and New Zealand floor cleaner (basically detergent with a little ammonia added). This is followed by a hot rinse and then a spin in washing machine.
Unlike, longer stapled locks like Merino, Corriedale and Gotland, I found there was no advantage in washing the Shropshire by lock. The lock structure of the loose fleece in the bags was perfectly preserved in big clumps with no fluffing or lock separation. In the photo above, the top locks were washed separately and the bottom locks were washed loose as in the laundry bag. You can see there is very little difference.
Like the complete nerd I am, I have begun recording fleece weight loss during scouring (just because it’s interesting). The Shropshire lost 30% of weight during scouring compared with 20% of a Border Leicester x Merino fleece I washed recently.