Yay for finished yarns!
If you remember from my previous Spinner’s Study posts I wasn’t totally loving working with the Black Jacob wool. It wasn’t particularly soft and the long kemp hairs gave it a prickly hairy feel (rather than soft and woolly). However, you’ll notice that it did spin up rather evenly, which makes me happy. Onto the next breed, whose fleece is basically the polar opposite!
|Photo from here.|
Those fluffballs are Cormo sheep. The breed was developed in Tasmania, Australia by a shepherd who combined Corriedale rams and Merino ewes — hence, the name Cormo. They were brought to the U.S. in the mid-70’s. They are supposedly a very easy-to-care-for breed according to Apple Rose Farm in New Jersey:
“Cormo sheep are an easy going, quiet group with strong flocking instincts. They have a high fertility and deliver twins without assistance. Cormos are hearty and do well on just grass. They are equally suited for the open rangelands and the suburban small farm. Cormo sheep were developed in Tasmania through careful genetic work to cull defects and produce a strong, hearty animal that can take hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters equally well.”
So obviously, I plan to have some in the future. 🙂
According to the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, their fleece is remarkably consistent because they are bred based on scientific analysis of the fleece. The fleece ranges between 17 and 23 microns, with 90% of it within 2 microns of the average (which is practically unheard of). If you’ll remember, a micron count that small lands Cormo squarely within the “fine” range. This is definitely soft stuff!
The staple length is shorter than the others I’ve worked with recently, between 3 and 5 inches, but on the long side for fleeces so fine. It is indeed incredibly soft, almost cashmere-like soft. Have you ever handled cashmere roving or yarn and felt like it sort of clung to your fingertips, almost sticky (but in a good way)? That’s how Cormo feels, which I’m attributing to its fineness. It also is not shiny at all, doesn’t have any luster, it’s a very dense, matte fiber.
The denseness and stickiness make it a tiny bit difficult to spin evenly, but it isn’t that bad. It’s not a very easy drafter, you have to tease apart the fiber quite a bit to get some air in there and then watch it carefully as you spin so that you don’t draft out too much at once. That said, I still really love it. It feels amazing and is spinning up fine. The FFSB recommends spinning it finely with plenty of twist and notes that after washing the yarn will bloom and plump up splendidly.
If you’re interested, you can buy already spun, undyed Cormo yarn in lovely natural shades at the Elsa Wool Company. I want some. Really badly. Hint, hint. 😉
Has anybody knit with Cormo yarn before?