Polypay sheep were developed in Idaho by a shepherd named Reed Hulet who needed to make a profit on his ranch.  With some thought and education he began along with his brother, Doctor Clarence Hulet, to cross breeds of sheep which they thought would give them sheep with good body size, more lambs, and great wool.

They began in 1968 and by 1970 the Polypay breed was born.

Finn Sheep which are known for having multiple births with a short gestation period were crossed with Rambouillet sheep which have a nice heavy fleece.

Dorset sheep with good body size which had been born as twins or triplets were crossed with Targhee sheep which were a newer breed that had been developed for good body size and lovely fleece.

 

The sheep from these crosses were then crossed with each other. The resulting sheep mature quickly, have short gestational periods, and tend to have multiple births.  This breed will produce two lamb crops and one wool crop per year. The name Polypay comes from the fact that there are multiple incomes from this breed.The American Polypay Sheep Association was formed in 1980.The fleece from Polypay sheep has a nice fine crimp and I would place it in the fine wools category due to its crimp and lock structure.  Lock length in one year is usually about 3 inches.

 

The front lock has been washed and the rear locks are unwashed.  About 9 crimps per inch in this beautiful fleece. The tips are a bit dirty but much of it came out in the washing and the rest will come out during processing and spinning.

Yarn spun from Polypay wool is bouncy and springy.

 

 

 

I made these yarns from Polypay fleece. All were spun in double drive on my Schacht Matchless and plyed using Scotch Tension on the same wheel.

On the far left is a 2 ply lace yarn which was spun worsted (twist was kept out of the fiber supply) from flicked locks. It is about 20 wraps per inch. The yarn feels crisp with a lot of body. It has a lovely luster which isn’t usually found in finer wools.

The next yarn is a 3 ply spun exactly the same way. It is about 18 wraps per inch with the singles matching the singles spun for the 2 ply. This yarn is a bit softer. Again, due to the worsted spinning technique its very shiny.

Next up still moving right is a 3 ply yarn which was flicked and spun woolen from the fold. When I say woolen from the fold I mean that the twist was allowed to enter the fiber supply. This yarn looks and feels warm to me. It is about 10 wraps per inch.

Finally on the far right is another 3 ply yarn at 7 wraps per inch. This yarn was also flicked but it was spun woolen from the cut end. It’s a lot fluffier and airier than even the yarn spun from the fold.

Polypay is a great fiber and many of the attributes of its ancestors are obvious in the way it looks and how it acts when it is being spun. I think the best attributes are the ones to come through.

 

Sheep photo courtesy of http://www.countrylovin.com/polypay/poly.html

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