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All American Sheep – American as Mom and Apple Pie

There’s a class I’m teaching at Rhinebeck this fall. I taught this class for the first time when I went to England a couple of years ago. It’s an awesome class, if I do say so myself.

Here is the official class description:

American Breeds Study 

As spinners we often think of Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand as the source of all things wooly. This class will look at breeds that were developed in the United States. Some come from feral breeds that came about during Spanish Exploration and some that were purposely planned to make the most of the local environment of the shepherds who made the decisions. These breeds range from next to skin soft all the way to best used only for carpets. All of them are fun to spin and all are extremely interesting to explore.

The 6 hour class will include 10 breeds.

Students should be able to spin a consistent thread. This class is good for those who spin on a spindle or a spinning wheel.

Here is a picture of one of my favorite American breeds, the Tunis.

breeds study1

Here’s the thing about this class. So many spinners are not aware of the rich history this country has with sheep. We often think of England or Australia as the homeland for all of the best wools to spin. Not so, says I! In this class we will get to touch and try 10, count them, 10! different sheep that have their roots right here. And don’t think these are all only good for rugs. These are some breeds that I would be willing to make underpants out of! Also, several of the breeds we will try are on the rare and endangered breeds list. We need to learn about them so we don’t lose them all together.

In the midst of all the touching and ooohing and aaahing, we I will also sneak in some tips about how to best weild those fiber tools and get the most awesome preparations which translate into spectacular yarns. And yes, you might catch me sniffing these wools on the sly.

Come with me on this American journey and let me infuse you with a new excitement for these great American sheep.

5 Responses so far.

  1. Dee says:

    I recently saw your beautiful pile of carded Tunis on Instagram. I have access to free Tunis after shearing each year but have such a terrible time with it. When I card it, it seems to be perfect but when spinning the rolags it is loaded with neps – isn’t soft or sproingy, it’s more like string. I want to love it, I have so much but it isn’t working out.

    • Beth says:

      Without seeing your wool I would recommend less passes on the hand cards and less twist in your singles.

      • Dee says:

        I think I’m doing just the opposite with the hand cards and probably the singles too. Thank you! Hope to see you at a future Carolina Fiber Fest.

        • Dee says:

          I have a pillowcase full of rolags I made with my new carders so tried spinning with less twist and it’s SO much better! I’m picking up your “How to Spin” book tomorrow. I’m thrilled. Thank you for your help!

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