Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand

Rare Breeds Fibre

Karakul Sheep

Karakul wool
Partially folded blue Karakul fleece showing the darker hairy outer coat and the lighter softer under coat plus a pair of socks made from part of this fleece.

Karakul Sheep have for millennia supplied wool for a variety of purposes. Their often hairy fleece is used for felting, carpets, rugs and strong, durable outer garments. Occasionally a Karakul has a softer fleece with a slight crimp. Some Karakuls have a double coat: an outer coat of coarse guard hair and an inner, much softer coat. The two can be separated by hand carding and used for different projects.

Persian carpets were made from Karakul wool, outlasting anything made from modern fibres.

For the hobby spinner and felter, a Karakul fleece offers opportunities to create unique crafts. It felts easily and due to the colour variations within each fleece, most interesting effects can be created from just one single fleece. Karakul fleeces come in a huge variety of natural colours: black, white, blue, red, and many shades in-between.

Karakul wool can be spun unwashed and un-carded resulting in a yarn which is a combination of the finer under coat and the coarser outer coat.

Caution needs to be taken when washing a Karakul fleece as it felts very easily. Don’t agitate the fleece and don’t change the water temperature.

Huacaya fibre
Washed black Karakul fleece which is not as hairy as the blue fleece.
Karakul wool
Detail of cuff made from the black fleece.
Karakul wool
Detail of the outer coat shows the coarse hairs. The wool has no crimp.
Karakul wool
Felted Karakul wall hanging.

  Fibre Introduction  

  Breeders Directory  

  Karakul breed page  

Thanks to Marina Steinke for supplying the information and photographs for this page.
Photograph of wall hanging by Geoff Trotter.
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