Week 3 (CVM Romeldale) and Week 4 (Merino)
One of the best things about spinning fiber is you just kind of know when things are meant to go together. That’s what happened during week 3 and 4 with my CVM / Romeldale roving and my Merino roving. I spun them separately, but something just called for me to put them together somehow. When you’re spinning, there’s a couple of ways to put them together, but the way that made the most sense to me was to ply them together – even though they were different colors.
Week 3 – CVM / Romeldale
One of the reasons I chose to include this breed in the 52 Weeks of sheep project was that I wanted to include some conservation and endangered breeds and to increase awareness about those breeds of sheep. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to meet with some Romeldale / CVM breeders and producers when I was at a fiber festival in Northeast Pennsylvania this past September. I was fascinated and so interested in learning about how this breed has been dwindling over the years and how there is now such a concentrated effort in revitalizing it. I’m relatively new to breed management and characteristics, and this is just one of those breeds that I feel like will be part of me.
The breed itself originated in in California in the early 1900’s as a cross between Romney rams and Rambouillet ewes. They have wool that is usually fairly soft and have fleece weights between 6-15 pounds with a staple length of 3-6 inches and micron counts ranging from 21-25.
The fiber I spun came from Boylayer’s in Troy, PA and was a beautiful light brown color. It was a little springy, and very soft and easy to work with. I spun it a little thicker than a lace-weight single and it had a little bit of texture to it in the spinning process. I really did like spinning this particular fiber and will likely spin it again. I’m a HUGE fan of natural colors, and this particular color was magnificent!
Week 4 – Merino
Ok – we’ve all heard of Merino. It’s like the holy grail of spinning fibers – everyone knows it’s soft, and fluffy, and, well, for lack of a better work, it’s just luscious! I didn’t always feel this way about Merino though. When I was a very new and beginner spinner, I decided I could spin anything I wanted, even Merino with it’s fairly short-stapled lock. It was almost the beginning and end of my spinning days. Not only was it short-stapled, it felted so easily. I swore if you looked at it wrong it would just walk away and felt on itself. Thankfully, I’m “determined” (the boyfriend refers to it as stubborn) and I didn’t quit spinning – and my wheel didn’t end up thrown out the window. I swore I would never spin Merino again… and then five years later I went to a sheering in Shepherd, MT, helped out – and whamo – fell in love with this wonderful soft fiber! So much so, that it’s a staple in my Goldieknots Montana business including roving, hand-dyed yarns, and knitting kits. My fiber came from 50 or so pounds I bought this past year (yes, that’s pounds) from this farm in Shepherd and was processed at the Dakota Fiber Mill in Kindred, ND by the amazing Chris (yes, that’s how I think of her!)
Merino sheep originated in Spain and have fleeces weighing anywhere between 6-40 pounds with a staple length of 2-5 inches and a micron count of 11.5-26. It’s a wonderful and lightweight (think of a fluffy cloud) fiber. It felts very easily and takes colors well. Merino is one of those fibers that’s great for those close-to-skin items. I was able to spin it thick or thin, and decided I would do it in a fingering weight single to ply with the natural brown CVM/Romeldale from last week. Talk about a match made in, well, fiber heaven 😉
So now that we’re four weeks into this spinning adventure – how are you liking it? Have you been spinning along with the breeds I am, working on a list of your own, or just following along? If you spun the CVM/Romeldale and the Merino – what were your thoughts? Have you found a new favorite fiber in these first few weeks? If you’re following along, do you have any questions or insights you’d like to share?
I’d love to hear about your experience in the project. Please feel free to comment below or join the 52 Weeks of Sheep 2017 Facebook group and post your pictures and comments there at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/52WeeksofSheep2017/
Also, feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested – I’d love to have them join us!
Until next week – happy spinning!