According to the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius, “The California Red offers pleasant fiber that wasn’t meant to be.”
The breed was developed in the 1970’s by Glenn Spurlock, who crossed the American Tunis and Barbados Blackbelly sheep, creating the California Red a dual-purpose sheep.
Size: Medium, Rams 225-250 pounds, Ewes 130-150 pounds
Temperament: Gentle and easy going
Fleece Weight: 5-7 pounds (2.3-3.2 kg)
Staple Length: 3-6 inches (7.5-15 cm)
Fiber Diameters: 50 to 60’s by the Bradford count, 30’s micron count.
Coloring: beige or oatmeal colored with hairs, ranging from gold to dark cinnamon
red, intermixed throughout.
Spinning: Shorter lengths are good for carding and spinning a lofty woolen yarn. The longer fibers are excellent for combing for worsted spun yarns.
In my collection: A full fleece was purchased in 2012. After a good wash (scouring) I ended up with just over 2 lbs. The staple length is on the shorter side for this breed, so I ran the fleece through my picker and then proceeded to drum card the wool into 1 oz. batts.
Plans for Wool: To be spun semi-woolen or woolen, depending upon the test sample I will try. The final yarn will be knit into a sweater (jumper).
Update posts to follow…