California Red-Seek And Sometimes You Can Find

The hardest thing about working with California Red is finding it in the first place.  There are a few farms out there that are raising them and marketing their wool, but it can be a difficult search.

After snagging a couple fleeces this past spring, I chose the lambs fleece to process for this.  The lambs fleeces generally have a larger number of red hair than the adults which also gets picked up by the camera better.  The red hairs are attractive and coarse. 

Here are some locks showing the milk tips.  Lambs being, well, lambs tend to get quite dirty.

And here is a single lock.

So here we go.  I pick and card some of the locks.  This cards beautifully and the locks have a good bit of vegetable matter so picking is a must.

And here is the resulting yarn.  As expected the loft of the wool, which has many properties of a down wool provides the loft this wool is known for.  The red hairs preclude any next to skin wear.

I also have some that I’ve flicked and then drumcarded.  Compare the two batts.  This batt will not have the noils from the brittle tips.

Here is a combed bit of top.  Compare the drum carded batt to this bit of top.  Notice the difference between the amount of hairs in each.  There are still plenty of hairs and you still will not want to make your next cowl from this.  This fleece is easy to comb with double row viking style combs.

As you can see, this yarn has a slightly paler color closer to the champagne color this breed is known for.  It also exihbits some of the loft the carded fiber does.

California Red is such a young breed you cannot go back very far in history to see what it was used for.  But over the years I have heard of people making outer socks, rugs and jackets from the wool.  I have made  knitted blankets from the wool.  I hope to spin enough yarn to weave a blanket, but I’m still spinning for that project.  California Red is not necessarily a wool that you can use to make most knitted items.  However its ease to spin and unusual characteristics makes it worth searching for.

Well, I’m still working on the romney blankets.  In fact I forgot I had warped enough for two blankets (groan).  So I’m plugging away on it. 

Mas has had some setbacks, not surprising for a puppy, but we are working on his issues as they surface.   Here he is peeping into the loom room.  He’s eight months old now…my has time flown! 

See this, its 14″ of snow that fell on Madison, WI back in December.   I left home Thursday night after work and I managed to make it to my hotel in Madison about 1/2 hour before this mess hit.  Had I left home when I originally planned I probably would not have made it in time for the dog show on Friday evening!

Since my batt class I’ve become more confident in my abilities.  The green batts are what I didn’t accomplish on Friday night at the workshop.  The second was some Jacob I planned on processing myself.  Well worth it.  And I’ve finished 16 of the batts for my Patches Memory Shawl.  Now if I could just get this merino sock yarn finished and off the wheel. 

During vacation I did manage to spin some yarn on my Lendrum.  On the left is from some batts from Enchanted Knoll the one of the right is a Pygora/Coopworth blend my swap partner sent me.  But now I need to get back to the projects at hand.  Hopefully this next post will not take so long.  The holidays assaulted me full force and I’m still recovering from it.


3 thoughts on “California Red-Seek And Sometimes You Can Find

  1. Marry me! Ok just move into my neighborhood so i can have a knowledgeable fiber processor for a neighbor. I have a source for California red if you’re ever looking for a backup.

    I’m learning processing right now and it’s addictive!

  2. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with California Red Fleece. If you try ours you will be surprised to find that it is clean, soft and colorful. It can be worn next to the skin. We breed for hand spinner quality California Red Fleece. The hair in our fleece is not guard hair and you will find that it is soft and not prickly. Please go to our web site and learn more about our sheep.

    Elizabeth Ferraro
    Apple Rose Farm
    Peru, NY

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