March 17, 2011

Wool Breeds Challenge - Jacob

Jacob is.... I'm not sure what.  It's listed in the Dual-Coated and Primitives group in "The Knitter's Book of Wool" and in the Other Breeds group in "In Sheep's Clothing".  Jacob has an average staple length of four to seven inches which makes it edge into the longwools.  It has a micron count of 27-35 which could make it kinda soft or kinda coarse.

The fiber sample I have seems to fall into the softer end of the scale with about a four to four and a half inch staple length.  It is dark brown with a lot of gray strands (kemp I presume).  Definitely softer than the Wensleydale I spun before it, but it doesn't have the silky feel the Wensleydale has.

I spun this longdraw from the fold for a two-ply and a four-ply sample.  It drafted easily and was very quick to spin and ply.  Almost boring. Nevertheless, it's nice to work with and I would spin it again.

Jacob samples



Wool Breeds Challenge - Wensleydale and CVM/Romeldale

Wensleydale is one of the Longwool Breeds with a micron count of 33-35 and an average staple length of eight to twelve inches ("Knitter's Book of Wool")

This particular sample is combed top with a fairly soft (considering the micron ct) and slightly silky texture.  It is also a bit shiny.  The only other really long Longwool I've tried was Lincoln which I didn't like at all.  This Wensleydale is nice though, and I'd consider spinning this again if I needed a Longwool either alone or blended with other wools.

Since it's top and really long, I spun this fiber worsted for a three-ply yarn.  I had an uneven amount of singles for my three-ply which left me with two strands of singles sufficient to make another sample.  I doubled them for a four-ply.  However, I couldn't see much difference in the three and four-ply samples, so I took the four-ply and re-plyed doubled, making an eight-ply cabled yarn with very nice ply definition. My first cabled yarn and very interesting look. I'd like to spin up another sample of cabled yarn so I could see what a knit swatch looks like.


Wensleydale closeup

CVM/Romeldale is one of the Finewools and is a rare breed.  CVM (California Variegated Mutant) was developed in the US from a multiple-colored mutation in the Romeldale breed.  It is soft with a micron count of 22-25 and an average staple length of three to six inches (from "Knitter's Book of Wool"). 

My sample comes from a portion of a pre-washed fleece in colors of grey, tan, dark and red-brown and a miniscule amount of white.  It's staple length is from 1.5 to 3.5 inches.  It had an acceptable amount of vegetable matter and dust.  Some sections were matted (but not felted). The locks were highly crimped, and the lighter colors seemed softer than the darker, however, all of it is next to the skin soft. 

CVMxRomeldale fleece

I separated the colors and hand carded into rolags which I spun long draw (very easy spinning).  The two-ply sample I made was spun and plied by counting the color sequence of rolags in an effort to keep the colors from blending or barber poling.  However, that's too fussy for me to continue for the rest of the rolags, so the remainder will be chain plied.    Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture of the sample that shows the colors properly.  Everything looks dark brown or light gray and it's not.  There are three shades of gray and a very light tan, as well as the dark brown.

I liked working with CVM, both carding and spinning, and would happily do so again. 

CVM/Romeldale sample

CVMxRomeldale rolags

March 4, 2011

Wool Breeds Challenge - Gulf Coast

I did not find Gulf Coast listed in either of my reference books.  however, according to the Gulf Coast Sheep Breeders Association (, they are one of the oldest breeds in America, descended from sheep brought to the Gulf Coast area early on in American history by the Spaniards. They were allowed to range free and adapted to the hot, humid conditions of the Gulf Coast area. They are also presumed to have interbred with other sheep breeds in the area, particularly French breeds. Gulf Coast wool has an average micron count of 26-32 and an average staple length of 2.5 to 4 inches.

My sample fiber is squishy-spongey, very much like the Down Breeds I previously sampled but perhaps a little denser.   Because of this, I decided to experiment a little.  This sample's fiber prep seems to be top, but it begged to be spun woolen.  So I carded it on my hand cards into rolags and spun longdraw from the rolags.  OMG, I never had such an easy time or so much fun spinning longdraw before.   I really, really liked spinning this wool this way.  I wish I had more than just this little sample.

The sample skein is a four-ply yarn. The other little skein and the bobbin are singles.

Gulf Coast sample

Gulf Coast closeup