Wool - Imported Top & Roving

It's one of our goals at The Fibre Garden to carry as wide a range of sheep breed rovings and top in their natural glory as we can get our hands on. Spinners and felters seem to love the selection, and we are always trying to hunt down new additions to the lineup. There's more to life than just Merino, lovely as it is. Consider some of the more obscure breeds we present, such as Jacob, Karakul or Falkland. Each has its own unique characteristics and uses. All of them are good subjects for the dyepot too, including the browns and blacks that offer all sorts of unique colour effects to the dyer. The offerings here are all imported from various countries, including New Zealand, Britain, South Africa and other places that are much more sheepy than Canada.

To make a clear distinction between various fibre preparations we offer:

Combed Top is what most people these days refer to as just "roving", probably accounting for 90% or more of the fibre commonly found. Roving has come to be a generic term in recent years, unfortunately, and we are one of the few merchants around to make a clear distinction between top and roving. 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. Combed top is generally free of vegetation debris, but for the odd bit here and there.

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. Wet felters like it too for durable and sturdy projects such as boots, slippers or rugs.

Sliver is a term used much more in New Zealand and Australia than here in North America. Generally it is just a synonym for Combed Top, though we have seen it being mis-used for carded roving sometimes. We usually just try and avoid the word!

We have now pulled our Canadian domestic Rustic Rovings into their own category on the cart, just head back a step to find them.

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

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