Know Your Wool Chapter 1

~I’m loving Know Your Wool free online course by Deborah Robson. This semester in spinning class, we’ve been focusing on fibers from different breeds of sheep. Robson loosely groups sheep breeds into four types” Fine Wool, Medium Wool, Longwool, and Double Coated.

Fine wool characteristics:

  • Knits into a soft fiber
  • Easily found in LYS
  • Small Crimp
  • Has a short to moderately short staple
  • Lots of fine crimp
  • A fine fiber diameter

Examples: Merino and Rambouillet

Medium Wool characteristics:

  • Work horse fiber: Sweaters, etc
  • 3 – 4″ long staple
  • Medium Crimp
  • Give an extra twist if spinning to use for socks

Examples: Columbia, Suffolk, Dorset, Jacob, Polworth

Longwool characteristics:

  • Sleek
  • Shiny
  • Sturdy
  • Usually shorn 2x a year so the staple is workable

Examples: Blue-faced Leicester (BFL), Romney, Lincoln

Double Coated characteristics:

  • Undercoat and hair
  • Sturdy fiber – used in carpets
  • Good for felting

Examples: Navajo Churro, Asian Karakul

In class, we’ve sample spun Merino fine wool, Dorset, Jacob and Columbia medium wools,  Lincoln and BFL longwools, and Navajo Churro and Asian Karakul double coated wool. With my samples, I have knitted and felted them into coasters. The latest spin and knit was a BFL-Rambouillet blend. The fiber didn’t have the soft feel of a BFL and had the semi-crimpy staple which you can see in my November 6 post. This knit and felted into a hot-plate sized coaster.

This is the perfect size to place my bowl of hot oatmeal on in the morning while sitting in front of the computer writing my day’s blog post.


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