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.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

California red sheep fiber

It's a wonderful fiber, but the name sure is misleading. I didn't even get a pink tinge. This was the third ravellenic project I completed. It is reviewed much more extensively in the Yarnspinnerstales podcast, episode 82.

From what I read about the fleece, I really am glad I didn't. It seems the reddish brown tinge to the fleece comes from hairs of that color in the fleece. Hairs mixed in with wool staples mean a harsher yarn. This sample that I washed, carded and combed to spin was as soft as merino. White....not even a hint of pink, but super soft.

Given the choice, I preferred the combed sample to the carded. Even with my finer tooth carders I found the batts were not carding well due to the fineness of the wool. Combs however worked great. There was a lot of waste, there always is with combing but the yarn spun thin enough to still give good yardage.

So to pass on what I learned, if you buy this fiber looking for the red color, be sure those reddish brown hairs are in the sample. I am sure this varies sheep to sheep and even over the different areas of the fleece. You have to know this as you evaluate a fleece for it's usefulness to you.

On the left is the combed fiber skein, 24 yards 2 ply at 12 WPI.  On the right is the carded fiber, 28 yards 2 ply at 9 WPI.

California Red fiber, washed on top, raw lock samples on bottom:

Carded California Red fiber:

Combed California Red fiber

Edited for links and picture descriptions 08/17/12

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