The Fiber Files

The Fiber is Out There

Episode 1 – Introductions


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
Processed at Spinderella’s
Willow – Jacob fleece – Owlhead Farms
Hand Processing using St. Blaise Combs – Paca – CVM Silver Grey fleece – Windy Hill Farms

Desperate Longing

Serendipity’s Fantasy Fiber Club Offerings, especially Phoenix!

Prime Investigation: Wool Types

Fine Wools:

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.

Down Wools:

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 Wools:

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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