SS: Black Jacob

I’ve finished another ounce of fiber for my Spinner’s Study!

I really like how the Finnish fiber spun up. It drafted smoothly and you can see the resulting yarn has a nice sheen to it, almost silky-looking. Here it is side-by-side with the first yarn I finished, Polwarth:

The Finnish has a smoother feel than the Polwarth, which has a snugglier, fuzzier feel.

 Now, on to the next breed: Jacob.

Image from the Jacob Sheep Breeders’ Association

What I think is probably the coolest thing about this breed is that the sheep are polycerate, or able to possess multiple sets of horns! They are also piebald, or spotted. Their fleeces contain white, brown, grey, and black natural colors. The Yarn Harlot made a beautiful gradient shawl from a Jacob fleece that she spun herself which you should check out. According to the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook (see end of post), they are a conservation breed present in both Great Britain, where they are larger because they are bread for meat as well, and North America, where they are smaller and more traditional in appearance.

The sample I have is just the black portion of the fleece. It smells sheepier and feels greasier than the other breeds I’ve spun so far. The fiber has very little crimp and feels more hairy than wooly, in fact you can see long white kemp hairs in the fiber, which gives the spun yarn a rougher feel when those prickly ends stick out.

One important fact about Jacob wool is that it can vary wildly in quality both within and between fleeces. According to the FFSB, staple length ranges from 3-7 inches and the micron count can be anywhere between 25 and 35 microns, so the wool definitely reaches the coarser end of the spectrum. While spinning it drafts fairly easily, though sometimes the longer staple length of the fiber makes it difficult for me to pull it apart smoothly. This one doesn’t rank near the top of my favorite breeds to spin but it has still been fun to spin something that isn’t white for a change. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “SS: Black Jacob

  1. I have always wanted to give Jacob a try- and just haven't run across it – thanks for this great post – I love to see what others think about a new fiber before I give it a spin and just may search some out.

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  2. What a great post! You're right, the Finnish wool really does look wonderfully shiny. That's a breed I'd love to try! I've spun up a sample of Jacob, as well, and found it really interesting: not something I'd necessarily purchase in full-fleece form, but really fun nonetheless. Looking forward to checking out the rest of your breed study! 🙂

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