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13.5 Micron Sharlea Merino Ultrafine Individually Washed Locks 12 grams

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You are getting 12 grams of individually washed Sharlea merino locks like those in my hand in the first picture (I was holding 11.1 grams in my hand). These individually hand-formed and hand-washed locks will delight you.

After years of working (playing) with luxury and exotic fibers, I am not shy about telling you that this is the most wonderful fiber I have ever experienced. With a fineness of 13.5 microns (considerably finer than cashmere), this rare Sharlea merino is definitely a luxury fiber. Because of its approximately 4-inch staple length, it is far more user-friendly than other luxury (or exotic) fibers. This is the best of both worlds. You need some.

I imported several fleeces from Australia and I am washing the wool one lock at a time. It's my own modified version of Margaret Stove's method - my method leads to non-compressed, lovely locks that do not need to be smoothed after drying). These fleeces were skirted for micron, not for staple length, so there are some short bits in the fleeces (in the last photo, you can see some of the short bits, some locks that I have pieced together in preparation for washing, and the leftover cloud of fiber). The fleece is a bit of a jumble, and I identify the tip of the fibers (not always easy) and hand-form each finger-thick lock. As I wash each lock, the grease and dirt disappear (though this was a particularly clean batch to begin with), leaving glowing tufts of washed staple, with some lovely crimp still remaining. Check out the crimp in the unwashed fiber on the left of the second picture! See the glow! It's the softest, most squishy, wonderful handful of fiber I have had the pleasure of squeezing.

This beyond ultrafine merino loves to be spun directly from the lock. Fan out the tip end (if you hold the lock between your thumb and index finger and move those fingers up and down, the lock will naturally “walk” toward the tip) and spin from one corner. The tips don't have to be ripped at all - it's clean and perfect. You can flick comb the tips if you'd like, but it's not necessary. Spinning from these locks (separated into thinner locks, if you'd like), with a backward, sliding supported draw, lends itself to laceweight (see my spun sample with the yellow background), but I have spun it thicker with excellent results, also. I am just beginning to get to know this fiber, and I am certain that I will love it more and more as I work with it further.

Again, yes, it's costly. I've put a lot of (joyous) effort into preparing it perfectly, and you will enjoy the results of that effort. I had some trouble coming up with the price. I know what I spent on the raw fleece and importing (hundreds of dollars just on shipping), and I know the materials and labor that I put into it, as well as the fiber loss due to the short bits). Basically, what I am charging is less than what I would feel comfortable paying someone else for the same thing. Please let me know if you'd like to custom order a larger amount. I may, at any moment, decide to keep it all. :)

To see PhatFiberlady's impressions of my 13.5 micron Sharlea locks, you can watch the following video. The segment about these locks starts shortly after 12:30 (12 minutes, 30+ seconds). I laughed out loud at the sound effects!

http://vimeo.com/26428136

13.5 Micron Sharlea Merino Ultrafine Individually Washed Locks 12 grams

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