Sunday, 14 June 2015

Corriedale sheep

The concluding post for Yarn of the Month is all about the sheep.  As you will already know, Lyonesse is a blend of 50% Corriedale / 50% Linen and the Corriedale wool comes from the Falkland Islands.  
Falkland Corriedale Sheep
Falkland Corriedale sheep

The Corriedale sheep originated in Australia and New Zealand in the 1870s due to a need for a dual purpose sheep, well suited for meat and wool production.  By crossing the Merino with the Lincoln Longwool they were able to achieve this aim.  By the 1890s the Corriedale had become the first native sheep of New Zealand.   

The Corriedale's popularity soon spread around the world.  Now the Corriedale is the second most popular sheep breed in the world and is said to make up 70% of the sheep population in South America.  

They are a large heavy sheep, mature rams can weigh between 79 -125 kg while ewes range from 59 - 81 kg.  The sheep are described as being large framed and both rams and ewes are hornless (polled).  Their fleeces are thick and heavy with an average staple length between 7.5 - 12.5cm.  It is usually white in colour although other colours can be found in smaller flocks.

Technical Information 
Corriedale fleece

Bradford count 50-58  
The Bradford Count is the traditional way of defining the thickness of a fibre. The higher the number, the finer the wool.  As a comparison the Bradford count for Bluefaced Leicester is 56 - 60

Micron measurement 25-31 
The micron measurement (a micron is a thousandth of a millimetre) is the modern day measurement. The lower the value, the finer the fibres are.  The micron count for Bluefaced Leicester sheep is 22 - 25 microns while the human hair is on average 11 microns.

Corriedale wool is soft to handle and can easily be worn against the skin.  If you are spinning with Corriedale it is said to be easier to work with than other wools with a similar fineness. 

Due to the climate on the Falklands, there are no flystrike problems, which means no external pesticides are applied nor does mulseing take place which is all good in my book). 

All images used in the post were taken by Andrez Short of Swan Inlet Farm and used with kind permission.


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