Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

YST Episode 64 Interview with a sheep breeder

In the podcast for episode 64 I have a great conversation with a breeder of the Black Welsh Mountain sheep. These sheep, originally from the Great Britain area have been preserved and improved by the efforts of Oogie MeGuire at the Desert Weyr Farm. I belong to an internet group years ago of spinners, that decided to do an exchange of rare breed fibers for spinning studies, and at that time Oogie provided samples of not only fibers from her BWM sheep, but some UK fibers too. Her point was to show that the US breeders had not been select breeding for the fiber in the sheep. Her goal was to breed BWM and improve the fiber, because with it's lovely black color, it's a wonderful addition to any spinners yarn. In our conversation Oogie talks about the process of doing this over the years since that first sampling as well as many other interesting things a breeder comes to know about their flock. She also graciously sent me some new samples, and I can say the fiber really does show improvement. BWM fiber is never meant to be one of the super soft fibers, otherwise it would no longer be true to the breeds' standards. It is one of those very usable middle of the road soft fibers, good for strong wearing fabrics, whether knit or woven. Here's a photo of the new samples she sent:

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