Spinning Coopworth Fleece
by - Martha McGrath
Country of origin: New Zealand
Brief history: The COOPWORTH is an easy care, productive breed developed at Lincoln University in New Zealand during the 1950's and 1960's under the direction of Dr. I. E. Coop.
He wanted to improve the reproductive performance of the Romney, which dominated the New Zealand sheep industry. Border Leicester rams were bred to Romney ewes, and the offspring were selected on individual performance, resulting in a ewe that easily lambs twins or triplets and raises them unassisted. The Coopworth lamb is vigorous at birth and fattens on grass and mother's milk. It has grown to become the second most numerous breed in New Zealand.
Coopworths were first imported to the United States and Canada in the late 1970's and are still a rare breed in North America. Coopworth fleece is popular with handspinners who find the wool easy to spin.
Fiber characteristics: The wool is silky with a "high spiral-type" crimp, a bright luster, and pointed at the tips. Staples may be round or flat.
Average fleece weight: Fleece weights average 10-13 lbs.
Average fiber length: The staple length is 6-8 inches.
Bradford spinning count: 46-50.
Micron diameter: 35-39
Colors: White, black, grey, blue
Method of preparation: Easy to process. Ideal for combing, carding, spinning in the grease.
Spinning techniques: Easy to spin. Best spun as a medium to bulky yarn, being careful not to overspin or overply, as you may lose the silky appearance.
Recommended uses: An all purpose yarn, outerwear, weaving (warp or weft), stronger fleeces are good for rugs.
Purchase information: Deer Run Colored Coopworth Sheep in Franklin, West Virginia
This article was written for a "Fleece Exchange" I took part in.
Jim and Martha McGrath
HC 72 Box 14D
Franklin, WV, 26807