Sheepwreck

September 9, 2013

Santa Cruz-A Rare Fiber Among Rare Breeds

Santa Cruz was quite the adventure. First of all I have to thank Jennifer Heverly from Spirit Trail Fibers for sharing with me some Santa Cruz fiber. Seriously, I never thought I would get my hands on some.

However I lost these samples in the depths of a bag somewhere. This has delayed me. Then I misplaced the bag of the rest of the fleece….sigh, excuses, excuses.

However, this past weekend I got some more from Deb Robson during a rare breeds class at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool festival. So I’ll share my samples spun here.

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The locks are tiny and the staple length is short. Very short. I do believe that this is the shortest wool I have ever worked with. We are talking a 1″ staple length for the locks I got from Jennifer and 2″ from Deb. I’ve spun shorter fibers, but not wool.

I felt best about combing the fiber, however spinning worsted is not the best way to show the properties of this wool. Perhaps because it gave me the cleanest yarn. Combing 1-2″ locks is no picnic.

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Carding was easier but you can see the vegetable matter. Neither of these fleeces were kept with handspinners in mind. One reason is that handspinners have not gotten their hands on it yet.

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If more spinners out there would seek out these fibers I believe they would find them more forgiving than cormo with a 50% elasticity for carded fiber. But right now the fiber I have is best combed than carded due to the vegetable matter.

Now to just find that bag if Santa Cruz I misplaced….

Last weekend was Wisconsin Sheep & Wool. I too Deb Robson’s Rare Breeds class on Friday, watched fleece judging and bought fleeces on Saturday and then bought more fleeces on Sunday! Fleece was certainly the theme for this year.

I also spent time with Sara and Hans of The Woolgatherers trying to be helpful. I taught one person the park and draft method of spindle spinning and helped her choose a spindle. Most of the time though it was hot and I worked to keep myself hydrated.

Best of all I’m spinning again on this:

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Yes that’s a Hansen Minispinner in cherry wood. Yes I sold a wheel to buy this one. No I did not sell one of my Reeves wheels.

I’ve decided that Shiloh needs to learn to retrieve. Not just retrieve dumbbells but shuttles. So I’ve started training him to do that. A little at a time

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks so much for being a part of the workshop on Friday! It was super to have you there. What a good crew we had gathered in that space. And I hope some day (soon?) we can all have cleaner Santa Cruz to play with, which will only happen if enough of us have the patience to work with the fiber we can get now and to become enamored of it and communicate with the shepherds about what will help them produce the best handspinners’ fleeces. It will improve their income, so everyone will be happy. Just FYI, I got 50% elasticity out of my COMBED Santa Cruz.

    Comment by Deborah Robson — September 11, 2013 @ 8:55 am |Reply


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