For Science!

I’m working with the Wildflower Acres farm in Fillmore, Missouri. Joanna owns a small flock of Corriedale sheep bred specifically as a handspinner’s flock. She keeps her eye on genetics and micron count and continues to breed for finer, more lustrous colored fleeces.

Much of the research surrounding micron count only focuses on Merino sheep. And while much of the spinning community infers that micron count correlates to fiber softness, this doesn’t necessarily take into account other breeds whose fleeces have unique qualities, like crimp or cuticle structure.

Corriedale sheep originally come from Merino, Lincoln and Leicester sheep. Because of the genetics, Corriedales have a range of fleece qualities, from tight to very open crimp and from well-organized locks to disorganized crimp.

In this experiment, we will be gathering data on perception of softness compared to micron count, crimp count, and other factors. This may be a baseline to start looking at other breeds.

If you are in the Kansas City area, this experiment will be on display at the Corinth branch of Johnson County Library during the rest of February and the first week of march. Then in April, it will travel to Yarn Social, where it will live for another month. It will also be joining Yarn Social at Knitting in the Heartland. So there’s lots of opportunities for you to check this out in person! Come sort the samples and rank them from softest to least soft!

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