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
posted under Show Notes
5 Comments to

“Episode 1 – Introductions”

  1. Avatar February 4th, 2010 at 2:41 pm Lisa Says:

    Terrific show. I loved hearing about the different types of wool. One breed I'm interested in hearing about is cormo. I'd also be glad to hear recommendations for sources to buy good fiber. Thanks for podcasting. I'm looking forward to your next show!

  2. Avatar February 4th, 2010 at 3:20 pm phoenixa Says:

    Thanks for listening. I do plan on following up with a cormo investigation in the near future. It's such a nice fine fleece to work with!

  3. Avatar February 11th, 2010 at 3:43 pm rona Says:

    Hi Kim,

    I just started listening to your show and I'm really excited about your podcast. I think the content and format is great and I really loved the Clun Forest episode having heard very little about them. I especially loved hearing about the history and the interview with Mary, the shepherdess.

    One minor point though for your first show is that one micron is actually one millionth of one meter (appoximately 1 yard), not a centimeter. One micron would be one ten thousandth of a centimeter. It may not be a big deal, but I thought I would mention it since the focus of your show is education and information.

    I think the show is awesome. I'm really looking forward to the next one! Now I'm off to the ravelry group to put in some comments on breeds I'd like to hear about 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Avatar February 11th, 2010 at 8:52 am Kim Says:

    Hi Rona,

    You are absolutely correct about the micron. In my everyday life (big nerd here – microbiologist/cell biologist) I deal with microns as a matter of course and lose sight of the larger measurements. Thanks for the correction 🙂

    Glad to hear you enjoy the show. There will be more interviews in the future. Now off to the next investigation.

  5. Avatar February 18th, 2010 at 4:18 pm Julene Says:

    I am about 5 minutes into listening to your first podcast and I just wanted to write and tell you how excited I am to have found you! (I found you through your post to Yahoo's Spin-List.) I've been spinning for about 2 years now, and am also a Minstrel owner. I've been doing everything I can to figure out types of fleeces to try, and so I'm elated to have found your site and podcast! Thanks so much! Julene