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Deb Robson and Tussah

Tip jar

for the sheep!

Tip Jar

« Comfort and crimp | Main | Keeping the wools organized, part 2 »

December 18, 2009


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L.M. Cunningham

Sounds like perfect reading for my lovely, wool-padded cell.


Deb Robson

I was thinking it would be appropriate to specify the wools to be used in the padding. . . .

Diana Troldahl

I love your phrase "templates for discovery".
I have been mildly interested in getting this book from the first mention of it I read, but the more I learn about the contents, the stronger the desire becomes. It is now a full-fledged 'hank'ering.
Thank you for the links to wool sources, too!

Susan J Tweit

You are amazing! What a lovely and informative review, and an intriguing teaser for the Project. You go!

Deb Robson

Diana and Susan, theres *so much* I could say about this book of Claras. Part of the challenge in getting the review done was that, with the interruptions, it was hard to make what I wrote short enough to post--! Its still pretty long. I indulged myself in the list of breeds covered, especially.


Fine review, Deb. The more I dip into the book, the more I like it. And it is so dip-able. And, yes, I have to second Susan--you go on that project. This convert's gotta learn fast!!

Also delighted with that list and feeling a little untoward pride about the two in Michigan.

Bear Farm has both Jacob and Morrit yarn. Am I right in thinking these are both rare/endangered breeds?


Oops. I goofed. The Farm Shop has the Morrit and Jacob.

Deb Robson

Quick answer, Linda, to your couple of very interesting questions.

Jacobs are a curious case. YES, American Jacobs are rare breeds (at the threatened level, which means pretty seriously endangered).http://bit.ly/6S2bkc British Jacobs are not: and are different enough that they can be considered a separate breed. They have been bred for more commercial qualities (read meat), where the American Jacobs are far closer to the older stock (smaller). The wool is industrially useless (and completely charming to spinners and knitters) because of the mixed colors--which, by the way, are often of slightly different lengths and textures, even in a single animal.

The Moorit question brings up another topic. Moorit means brown, and the word is applied to a lot of different breeds of sheep when a gene brings forth brown wool. Its usually a sort of soft brown, not a chocolate. As far as I know (not digging right now), the word originally came from some of the Shetland breeds colorations. The people at Mt. Bruce Station have apparently been breeding a line of sheep for quite a while to encourage the manifestation of this brown gene in what looks like a flock that has a lot of Corriedale genetics. (I was spinning moorit Bond wool yesterday, from Joanna Gleasons flock at Gleasons Fine Woolies . . . Bonds are Corriedale cousins.) So this is a *line* of sheep, bred for the shepherds particular preferences.

It *could* become an established breed some day--thats how California Variegated Mutants happened from the Romeldale breed (CVMs are sometimes considered the badgerface variant of Romeldales, sometimes a separate breed). As long as the group of sheep breeds true to type (the old saw breeds breed true)--in this case, all offspring have moorit wool and an array of other, definable characteristics--this may be a breed in the making, but it is not one yet.

Love it. Fascinating.


Thanks for such a thorough answer. It's plenty good for this newbie-geek. Boy, geekiness has come on me fast.

It's enough to buy from sustainable farms with good wool, but when I can support a threatened species, then I'll feel really good, especially when the farm is about an hour from the farmhouse where I grew up and try to spend some summer time.

Mt. Bruce's Jacob fellow is small; the plain yarn comes in both black and white and is a DK weight. I think I can see a lacy, soft shawl. They call their Morrit yarn "mocha," so I'd say you've got them pegged.

Another road trip!

Well, you have a book to write and a holidy to celebrate. A big thanks for taking the time to provide all this useful information over this last week or so. As for your system for the project: WOW!

My best,


Deb, I am honored to be included in your post. I can't tell you how much I have learned from Clara's new book! It is now assigned reading for the Juniper Moon Farm staff.
XO and Happy Holidays

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