That's a skein of California Variegated Mutant, or CVM, that I spun up over the last week. I got this strange stuff at MS&W last year and I remember that it was CVM, but that's about all I remember about it. I think it was dyed with some natural dye or something too. (Norma, are you out there? Didn't you buy a bunch of this too? Do you remember the details?)
So I was kind of excited to spin up this strange stuff. I guess it's rather rare and the wool is supposed to be pretty nice stuff. According to the American Sheep Industry Association the average fiber diameter is 22-25 micron and the staple length is 3-5 inches. Not bad.
Well, the roving I had was, how shall I say, rather less "prepared" than I'm used to. It had quite a bit of VM throughout and there were places where there were clumps of very short fibers. I also thought the fibers were less combed or carded than I'm used to -- plus this particular breed has quite a bit of crimp to it's wool. It just wasn't that pleasant to spin. And I found myself putting more spin into the wool just to keep it together because of the clumps of short fibers.
After plying, the yarn was less than spectacular, but after a bath it softened up quite a bit. There was quite a bit of dirt, VM and dye that came out in the wash -- maybe that helped. Here's a close-up of the finished product after it's bath:
Definitely a learning experience. I'm enjoying spinning up lots of different fibers prepared in different ways. I feel like I'm starting to find out exactly what I like to spin (BFL & Cormo are my two favorites followed by merino if it's blended with something with a bit longer staple length) and how I like it prepared (really well -- maybe this will change over time and I'll be buying a fleece to prepare myself, but I seriously doubt it!)
I would give the CVM another chance if it was prepared in a different manner. Next time I sit down to spin I may try 100% alpaca! There's been some sitting in the stash for ages, but I've been scared to try it.