Sunday, August 14, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
13.3 micron Sharlea merino, unwashed in its shipping package
Only a handful of Sharlea fleece are available for individual sale each year, the bulk of them are baled and auctioned off. The fiber generally ends up at fashion houses around the world where they process the wool and it is woven into luxurious fabric to be made into custom garments for high end customers (think $15,000 men's suits). To the best of my knowledge, there are no more Sharlea certified fleeces available until the Spring shearing begins but there is a reason that mine have just arrived...
Two of the fleeces I have purchased were held back to be shown at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show at Bendigo, AU this year. The heavier of the two won Reserve Champion in the Ultrafine Merino Class. I had to wait until after the show for my fleece to arrive - in fact, I didn't even know until after the show what micron count they would be and how heavy they were. They are both 13.3 microns and these two are very similar. I have two others, both a bit 'coarser', one at 13.9 microns and the other at 16 microns which puts it at Superfine rather than Ultrafine but still exhibiting the Sharlea Characteristics. The estimated yield of Sharlea is 75-82%, much higher than would normally be expected for a merino in part due to the great care used to keep these sheep clean and free of debris.
I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to offer this very special fiber to handspinners in the USA. The Sharlea will be packaged unwashed in 50 gm boxes and will be available in my festival booth this fall. You have to see and touch it to believe it so please stop by and see me at the shows.