Fiber Files – Show Notes – Episode 1
Spinning for 4 years
Grew up on a farm in northeastern Montana
Raised sheep – Suffolk/Dorset/Cheviot cross as well as cattle – Hereford/Angus/Scottish Highland cross
What’s on the Wheel?
LuLu – a CVM/Corridale moorit lamb’s fleece blended with silk – Sheepfeather’s Farm
Willow – Jacob fleece – Owlhead Farms
Hand Processing using St. Blaise Combs – Paca – CVM Silver Grey fleece – Windy Hill Farms
Prime Investigation: Wool Types
This is any wool with a micron count of 18 – 24 or a Bradford Count of less than 64.
Micron Definition: Unit of measure like a centimeter or inch. This is actually a micrometer = 1,000,000th of a centimeter.
Bradford Definition:The Bradford system (also known as the English Worsted Yarn Count System or spinning count or Bradford count) is a way to assess the quality of wool.
English wool handlers in the city of Bradford described wool by estimating (with experienced eyes) how many 560-yard hanks of single strand yarn could be made by a good spinner from a pound of “top.” (Top is cleaned combed wool with the fibers all parallel) The finer the average diameter of a single wool fiber, the more hanks could be spun. From a pound of “64s,” for example, sixty-four such hanks could be made (more than 20 miles!). From the finest wools, more than 80 hanks could be spun; from the strongest, perhaps 36 or fewer. Using ranges denoted by the stronger end (that is “44s” ran up to “46s”) wool lots were classified and prices derived.
Examples: Merino, Rambouillet, Cormo
Characteristics: Low micron count / high Bradford count. Tight crimp and short blocky staples. Oft times very greasy fleeces. Felts easily.
Uses: Next to the skin garments.
Micron counts of low 20’s to low 30’s.
Characteristics: Spiral crimp in an unorganized crimp. The staples are very springy and crisp with a dull luster. Sometimes considered chalky in appearance. Most down wools will not wet felt but will needle felt.
Examples: Clun Forest, Suffolk, Cheviot
Uses: Outerwear, sweaters and socks.
Long wool sheep produce long stapled wool with a large fiber diameter, usually greater than 30 microns.
Characteristics: Loose, wavy crimp. Some staples are 8-12″ long. Very high luster.
Examples: Border Leicester, Wensleydale, Teeswater
Uses: Outerwear, carpets
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