We call this group of domestic wool fibres RUSTIC ROVING to set it well apart from the combed top most spinners and felters are used to working with over the past twenty years or so. Sadly, the word “roving” has come to be a generic term and is mis-used to describe combed top much of the time.

Combed top is first carded and then put through a combing machine that removes shorter bits of fibre, removes most vegetation debris and, most importantly, aligns the wool fibres into a fairly parallel arrangement. That’s awesome for spinning worsted or semi-worsted yarns, and for many felting purposes but it depends on the project and method used. We are one of the few merchants that makes a clear distinction between top and roving.

Carded Roving has simply been carded, and not combed. This means the fibres are in a much more jumbled arrangement than combed top. Roving is best suited to woolen-style spinning and it creates yarns with high loft that are often not as smooth as worsted-style yarns but are warmer and cozier to wear. Many needle felters LOVE true roving for Core Wool when doing 3-D animals and other projects, because the jumbled fibres come together quickly to create a firm core foundation shape.

Our Rustic Rovings are generally thick and chunky, feeling lofty and bulky compared to combed top. There will always be some degree of vegetation debris in these, which can vary significantly from one lot to the next. Why? Canadian sheep are usually in barns for the winter, bedded on straw, while countries like New Zealand and Britain tend to pasture sheep outdoors year round. Our Canadian pastures have different weeds than other countries, things like Timothy and various thistles which produce seedheads that stubbornly stick on wool fibres. Sometimes these end up getting carded into the wool during processing. Picking out vegetation bits during spinning is tedious but rustic! For needle felting as core wool, it really does not matter much if a few seeds and straw bits end up inside the core, since it will be covered with a decorative outer later of fibre anyhow.

We would offer Canadian combed wool top in a heartbeat, if such a thing existed and was available to us wholesale. The mills we have in Canada by-and-large have only carding equipment and do not comb their wool. This will hopefully change in the future as our sheep industry continues to grow.

We’ve tried to describe the breeds here, but more information can be found in “The Fleece & Fiber Source Book”. Two older references (now out of print but worth tracking down) are “In Sheep’s Clothing” and “The Knitter’s Book of Wool”.

Quick Metric Conversion:
1 oz = 28.35g, 2 oz = 56.7g, 4 oz = 113.4g, 8 oz = 226.8g, 1 Lb = 453.59g

PRODUCT of CANADA

Black Welsh Mountain (Rustic Roving)
Black Welsh Mountain (Rustic Roving)
Classification: DOWN-TYPE WOOL Thick and chunky rustic roving with minor amounts of veg and just a touch of lanolin present. Black Welsh Mountain makes up for in loft what it lacks in softness. Fleece is considered medium to coarse, best suited to outerwear or rugs. Our rovings are black with lots of ash-grey for an overall charcoal-grey effect once spun. Micron count is usually in the 26 to 33 range with a staple length of 3 to 4 inches. Wet-felting properties are low but suitable for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Canadian Arcott (Rustic Roving)
Canadian Arcott (Rustic Roving)
Classification: MEDIUM WOOL Thick and chunky rustic roving with a moderate amount of veg. A Canadian breed developed by Agriculture Canada in Ottawa, a complicated crossing of Ile-de-France, Suffolk Cheviot and others. Primarily a meat sheep but deserves more consideration by spinners. Though technical details are hard to find, what we have is creamy-white in colour, with a nice bounce and loft and a bit of lustre. Staple seems to be in the 2 to 4 inch range and it feels plenty soft for midrange garments. We're guessing this could be put to many of the same uses as Clun Forest or North Country Cheviot, and it might work great for a warm and cozy pair of socks, spun woolen or semi-woolen style. Wet-Felting properties are not known to us, but we're guessing it's pretty good. A good core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Charollais (Rustic Roving)
Charollais (Rustic Roving)
Classification: DOWN-TYPE WOOL? Thick and chunky rustic roving with a moderate amount of veg. Staple length is short, only about 2 to 2.5 inches. A fairly soft and bouncy ivory-white fibre. This appears to be a meat sheep originally from France, introduced to North America relatively recently. It likely lends itself best to woolen-style spinning for midrange garments, but be aware that the staple length is short. Micron counts are in the 23 to 27 range. Wet-felting properties are probably average but it's hard to find any reference. A good core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Columbia (Rustic Roving)
Columbia (Rustic Roving)
Classification: FINEWOOL Thick and chunky Rustic Roving. Current batch contains a moderate amount of vegetation. A North American breed, fairly widely raised in the western US and Canada. The locks are blocky with a high crimp and fairly fine fibre diameter. Adapts well to both woolen and worsted styles of spinning, used for midrange and outerwear garments, including socks, sweaters and functional items. Micron count is usually in the 23 to 31 range (comparable to Corriedale) with a staple length of 3 to 6 inches. Wet-felting properties are good. A good core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Corriedale –  White (Rustic Roving)
Corriedale – White (Rustic Roving)
Classification: MEDIUM WOOL Thick and chunky rustic roving. Current batch has a moderate amount of vegetation. An excellent choice for CORE WOOL for 3-D needle felting. Spinners might consider doing a lofty woolen-style spin. This roving is much different from the tidy combed New Zealand top we offer, but it's about the same softness. Micron count for Corriedale can vary, but we are guessing this is in the 28 to 30 range. Staple length is around 3 inches. Wet-felting properties are very good. An excellent core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Dorset (Rustic Roving)
Dorset (Rustic Roving)
Classification: DOWN-TYPE WOOL Thick and chunky rustic roving with a moderate amount of veg. Staple length is about 4 inches. A fairly soft and bouncy ivory-cream fibre with a medium staple and high crimp that lends itself best to woolen-style spinning for midrange and outerwear garments. Dorset and Suffolk-Dorset are one of the most common meat sheep breeds in Canada. The wool is often sent overseas before being made into yarn or felt and sold back to the North American market. Micron count is usually in the 27 to 32 range. Wet-felting properties are very low, and because of that Dorset is sometimes recommended for garments where shrinkage could be a factor, particularly socks. A good core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Ile-de-France (Rustic Roving)
Ile-de-France (Rustic Roving)
Classification: FINEWOOL Thick and chunky rustic roving. Our current batch has a moderate amount of vegetation. Ivory-cream in colour, with lots of bounce and loft. Ile-de-France was intentionally bred as a meat sheep in France in the early to mid 1800s and is a relatively new introduction to North American shepherds. With Merino in the bloodlines, this fibre should be interesting to experiment with. This source is not as fine as most Merino but could be ideal for warm and cozy socks, midrange or outerwear. Staple length of this roving is around 2.5 to 3 inches. Likely in the 25 to 30 micron range. Excellent felting properties. An excellent core wool for needle-felting.
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The Fibre Garden
Merino – White (Rustic Roving)
Classification: FINE WOOL Thick and chunky Rustic Roving with a moderate amount of vegetation debris. Staple length is about 2 to 2.5 inches, the colour is natural ivory-white. Merino is the most popular sheep wool breed by far. Suitable for projects worn against the skin, but also useful for outerwear and excellent for all types of felting. Our domestic Merino is not graded for micron count, so could range between 22 and 30 or so. If you want super-fine graded Merino, our imported combed top may be a better option. A good core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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North Country Cheviot (Rustic Roving)
North Country Cheviot (Rustic Roving)
Classification: DOWN-TYPE WOOL Thick and chunky rustic roving, in an ivory-white shade. There are different regional variations on Cheviot, but they have similar fibre. Cheviot is known for having bulky and springy staples of medium length with very little lustre. Its traditional uses range from blankets and carpets to midrange and outerwear clothing. It's a strong fibre and can be useful for socks. Micron count is usually in the 27 to 33 range, with a staple length of 3 to 5 inches. Wet-felting properties are low. An excellent core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Rambouillet (Rustic Roving)
Rambouillet (Rustic Roving)
Classification: FINEWOOL Thick and chunky rustic roving with a moderate amount of vegetation in our current supply. Lovely off-white in colour. In the Merino family, Rambouillet developed as an offshoot in Northern France in the late 1700s and was soon brought to North America where more changes made this a distinctive breed. The fibre is similar to Merino but with less lustre and more loft. Staple is in the 2 to 4 inch range and especially well-suited to woolen-style spinning. Plenty soft for outer, midrange and against-the-skin wear, with a micron count in the 18 to 24 range. Wet felting properties are excellent. A good core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Scottish Blackface (Rustic Roving)
Scottish Blackface (Rustic Roving)
Classification: DUAL-COATED Thick and chunky Rustic Roving, usually with moderate vegetation. The colour is creamy-white with a light sprinkling of dark hairs. This is an ancient breed, and a main player in the development of the wool industry in Scotland. The fleece is a combination of long, course outercoat hairs, with a much finer undercoat. This roving has the two carded together and would be best suited for rugged outerwear or non-garment uses. Micron count on the fine hairs varies from 28 to 38 microns but is difficult to assign in a blend. Wet felting properties are good but the resulting felt will be textured and hairy and certainly best suited for sturdier creations. A good core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Suffolk (Rustic Roving)
Suffolk (Rustic Roving)
Classification: DOWN BREED Thick and chunky Rustic Roving, with a moderate amount of vegetation debris. Creamy-white in colour with mottlings of darker shades here and there. Suffolk is the most common breed in North America, used widely for meat production. This is a versatile fibre with low-lustre wool but plenty of loft for good insulating value. Great for mittens, socks, outerwear and rugged sweaters. Micron count is in the range of 25 to 33, with a staple length around 2 to 3.5 inches. Wet-felting properties are poor. An excellent core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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Targhee (Rustic Roving)
Targhee (Rustic Roving)
Classification: FINEWOOL Thick and chunky Rustic Roving, with a moderate amount of vegetation debris. The colour is a bright ivory-white. Targhee is a very bouncy fibre that can be spun woolen or worsted. The staple is longer than Merino and therefore it's easier to spin. This breed is well-suited to next-to-skin garments, outerwear or anything else. Micron count is in the range of 21 to 25, with a staple length around 3 to 5 inches. Wet-felting properties are excellent. Good as a core wool for needle-felting PRODUCT of CANADA
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Tunis (Rustic Roving)
Tunis (Rustic Roving)
Classification: MEDIUM WOOL Thick and chunky Rustic Roving, with a moderate amount of vegetation. The colour is a bright ivory-white. Tunis is a rather bouncy fibre that can be spun woolen or worsted. The staple is longer than Merino and therefore it's easier to spin. This breed is well-suited to midrange and outerwear garments. Micron count is in the range of 25 to 30, with a staple length around 4 to 6 inches. Wet-felting properties are low to moderate. An excellent core wool for needle-felting. PRODUCT of CANADA
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