Corridale: Versatile for All Wool Arts and Crafts

512px Corriedale Sheep

The second fleece I ever purchased was a Corridale. I picked it up at a fleece show, giddy over my quite reasonably priced find. A fellow fleece-shopper had told me that Corridale would be a good beginner’s fleece, one that was less likely to felt than but with softness similar to a Merino. Scouring turned out to be harder than I’d expected. Corridale has a lot of grease, much like their parent breeds, Merinos, Lincolns, and Leiceisters.

Corridales were first bred in the 1880s in Australia at Corridale Ranch by James Little, the ranch manager. Little was aiming to create a sheep with a versatile fleece who could thrive on the transitional grasslands of their area, a cross between arid grasslands and lush, rich pastures akin to the prairies of Nebraska and Kansas. In 1914, the first Corridales arrived in Laramie, Wyoming at a US Department of Agriculture research stataion. A centry later, they’ve found a home in the United States, making an appearance at many flock and fleece shows, as well as in the Falkland Islands and South America.

Corridale yarns are generally soft enough for light skin contact and quite durable. They make wonderful blankets, socks or gloves, and outer clothing like jackets or sweaters. It’s durable enough for pillows and other household goods. You can spin from the locks or flick, comb, or card before spinning. It’ll spin into a bouncy, puffy yarn, ideal for knitting, crochet, or weaving. Corridale can be felted, too, although it’s not one of the common fleeces to which most felters flock. Corridale takes color well in the dye pot. You’ll want to scour it well as you would any of the finer wools.

(Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

Corridale Data:

  • Staple Length: 3-6 in (8-15 cm)
  • Locks: Rectangular, dense locks, often soft with flat tips, and a clearly defined crimp along the full length of the fiber
  • Microns: 25-31 with a slightly higher range from New Zealand (colored fleece often at 35 microns)
  • Colors: White, some gray to black, beige to brown. Some sheep are spotted.
  • Weight: 10-20 lbs (5-9 kg)

Sources and References:

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