Did you know that sheep are divided into two basic groups? There are meat sheep and wool sheep. (and some multi-purpose) The energy of wool sheep goes into fiber production.
We strive to keep our sheep covered in coats for the majority of the year, to keep their fleeces clean. We do give them a quick break though after shearing to let their skin breathe, in the warm months.
Merinos are known for their neck folds, which were to give more area for wool production. The ewes produce 6 to 9 pounds of wool, while the rams produce 10 to 14 pounds.
The length of locks are usually from 2 1/2 to 4 inches in length. The wool is very fine and has a equally fine crimp.
Merino, the soft , fine, luxurious fiber chosen by royalty for centuries. Available to you, without harsh dyes, in natures pure palette of warm hues. Choose from creamy white, cocoa, driftwood, or espresso. Buttery soft and a joy to spin for those projects you have been dreaming of. Soft enough to become a sweater and wear next to your skin, or to be a babies first snuggly blanket, and handed down as an heirloom.
As you may know, top is the highest quality fiber available for handspinning. After the wool has been washed (scoured) and carded, it is combed so that all fibers are parallel to each other. This step removes any remaining noils or second cuts.
Roving on the other hand has been carded, and all fibers are going in different directions, which gives an airy yarn.
Merino does costs abit more to purchase. This is because the number of mills in the U.S., which can devote the extra time, attention and have the required machinery to handle the fineness of the raw wool are smaller. This requires it to be shipped across several state lines. Plus additional washing because of natural heavier grease content of the breed and additional processing steps all add up. So, when you make your choice consider not just the lowest price, but choose between good and best. Excellence is a result of many factors including: 1) high quality animals 2) practices of good nutrition and preventative care 3)sheep coats for cleaner fleeces 4) consistency 5) not cutting corners.
Why not give it a try today? You won't be disappointed!