Gulf coast native was the first raw wool I worked with on my own. I purchased it via a wool group on Facebook from a woman in Alabama. I decided to comb the raw wool before washing, just because the dust, dirt, and VM were very heavy.
I chose to work with this breed for two reasons: availability, and conservation. The breed caught my eye—gulf coast native is a critically endangered sheep breed on the Livestock Conservancy conservation breed lists. For sheep, the movement to support demand for these endangered sheep is s campaign called “shave em to save em” or “shear em to save em”. Conservation of heritage and ancient livestock breeds is a bit different than with wild species. Livestock differ from wild animals as there is a demand to grow more of them in a domestic setting. If there’s no reason to utilize these animals, sadly, there’s actually no reason to have them. Luckily, sheep are happy to give us their wool once or twice a year, to cool off from their heavy heavy sweaters and bounce around the fields all clean and free. Also, I chose this breed because it was available, and better yet, for a low price.
I got a small fleece, 1.8 lbs and was so thrilled. It washed up beautiful in Unicorn power scour , and after drying, with a second comb it was absolutely beautiful. After processing a few breeds, I decided that adding some rosemary essential oil to the wash really conditioned the wool better than unicorn alone—which felt like maybe it stripped some of the natural oils from the GCN rather than just removing excessive lanolin.
I wasn’t that surprised that this fleece had a lot of VM as GCN is a native landrace, survival breed of sheep. The early North American explorers who came to the gulf coast brought over some of these sheep which adapted to the climate and pretty much naturalized themselves. They are hardy.
I was surprisingly thrilled when the finished yarn showed a beautiful luster, and as the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook says, it does take up dye well. I gifted my first skein to our fiber friend, Nancy, who watched over my great wheel for a few months.
Disco Chicken of Love
sTate fair ready!
seed starting 2019
ky state fair quilt
A sustainability major at U of L, beginning farmer, crafter, and writer.