Rambouillet Sheep - Spinning and Fibre Study

Rambouillet Sheep - Spinning and Fibre Study


I am now into my second month of the sheep breed and fibre study and finding that it is quite a lot to get through each week. There are a few of us doing this together and so we have decided to take a week off as most of us have other jobs or businesses to run. The last week I haven't done any spinning at all however I'm a bit behind on the blog and haven't yet written about the Rambouillet breed which brings me to the subject of this blog post.

Some History

Rambouillet sheep are a breed of domestic sheep that are renowned for their high-quality wool and adaptability to a wide range of environments. They are named after the town of Rambouillet, located just outside of Paris, France, where they were first developed in the early 18th century.

The Rambouillet breed is descended from the Spanish Merino sheep. The development of the Rambouillet breed started in 1786, when Louis XVI purchased over 300 Spanish Saxon Merinos from his cousin Charles III of Spain.  They are also known as the Rambouillet Merino.

The Spanish Merino sheep were known for their dense, fine wool, but they were not well-suited to the French climate and often suffered from disease. French breeders began crossing them with local breeds, including the native Boulet and the English Leicester to give a larger breed and longer wool staple. Over time, this breeding program resulted in the development of a new breed that combined the best traits of the Merino and British long wool breeds with the native French sheep.

Today Rambouillet sheep are valued for their dense, fine wool which is known for its elasticity and durability, and is often used in high-end garments fabrics. They are a dual breed and the meat is also of high quality. Their breeding has spread around the world and they are highly popular in many other countries.

Fibre Details

Rambouillet wool - I spun from a combed top preparation of 20-23 micron and with a staple length of approximately 10 cm. The colour is a creamy white and has some lovely crimp presumably from the Merino in the breed. It is considered a fine wool in the fibre source guides.
Lock characteristics are square, flat tipped, dense staples with a soft feel, similar to Merino and good length from the British long wool breed being included.

Study Notes

I really loved this fibre, the staple length is nice and long at 10cm and it was easy to spin but not too slippery. I found the finished yarns had a nice soft fuzziness, not too much but very little lustre.
I spun a variety of different yarns both 2 and 3 plies and both woollen and worsted spun to find my favourite and what I might use in a future project.
The most remarkable quality to the yarns was the elasticity. My favourite yarn produced was the short forward draft, 2 ply in fingering weight. The elasticity on this yarn was 3cm over a 10 cm length (a 10cm piece stretched out to 13cm when pulled tightly). It reminded me of hat elastic a little it was so stretchy. It also bounced right back into shape. I think this would be a good sock yarn with the long staple for strength and the elasticity to hold the socks up. It might be worth adding a little nylon for the heels and toes though for extra durability, however I would definitely look to using this wool fibre in a scarf, shawl or sweater.

This week I have also tried to spin DK weights or slightly heavier during this study as I tend to spin finer and finer and wanted to practice my heavier weight spinning but still found I loved the fingering weight sample the best.


Overall I really enjoyed both spinning and the final yarns of the Rambouilet and would definitely buy and use this fibre again. It has fabulous elasticity, the best so far. It's very similar to Merino without the slip factor, a bit like the Falkland. It doesn't have the lustre of Merino and is just a little bit fuzzy like Polwarth. It is not as soft as the Polwarth though despite being the same micron count. It seems a good all rounder to all of these breeds.

Next spin is Bond Sheep.

If you are interested in lessons on spinning different breeds, spinning in general or any other fibre crafts for that matter,  I have found the School of Sweet Georgia to be a wonderful resource and use them regularly myself. Please note for full disclosure this is an affiliate link but I only recommend what I would use myself and this one is very helpful and there is so much there to learn.



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1 comment

Hi Cheryl, Had a little read of your blog and found it very informative. I will try to get back another time and continue reading your opinions. Was nice to meet you today and enjoyed our chat. I also had a quick squiz at your web page, some very nice fibre on there, Wendy

Wendy Charles

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