This is the story of how we found the Romanian Merino sheep back in 2015.
We first needed to find the merino sheep - and we found a flock that lives on the farm where the Transylvanian Merino sheep was created in the 80's. We had enough wool from there but then we found an old woman with 70 merino sheep that she keeps to supplement her terribly low pension. My brother and I thought that is only normal to also purchase the wool from her merino sheeps.
The fleeces that we bought were well skirted after shearing, but still, they were so dirty and full with lanolin and vegetable matter that we were shocked. Living a "close to nature" life means in this case that the sheep get dirty, very dirty. Cleaning and washing the fleeces took us twice as long as it takes to wash the wool that makes the "Elena yarn". The process involved a long fermentation phase and two washing phases with an eco-friendly detergent and very hot water. Only then was the merino wool clean enough for spinning.
We then needed to find a fiber mill that can process the merino wool. We tried at our mill where we spin the Elena yarn, but the machines could not do it - they were not equipped for such fine wool. We knew of other 2 traditional fiber mills in Romania. We contacted one of them but the samples were again not satisfactory. The last chance - a fiber mill in the South Romania that said that they can do it. And lucky for us, their machines could spin the fine merino wool.
Please note that the weight of the skeins is not identical. We receive skeins of various weights because the machines of the fiber mill are not modern enough to produce consistent weights. Instead, it is the spinner that knows from experience how much wool has to be processed in every batch in order to get "more or less" the same weight skeins. In addition, after washing, the skeins will loose again in weight and this is again not equal between skeins. As skeins are drying (and they do that even on the shelf), they will become lighter.
We decided to weight the skeins AFTER having been washed and were dried in the sun. Skeins are then assigned to weight categories by following the + / - 5 gr rule: for example, between 46 to 55 we consider to be 50 gr, between 56 to 65 gr we consider to be 60 gr, etc. This is the best compromise that we can do in order to respect the technological limitations of the traditional fiber mills and to also ensure some kind of standardization that is required by the nowadays commercial trades.
We recommend using knitting needles EU 3. The yarn is spun in one strand and by using a lower size needle the fabric will have more durability.
Length: 100 gr is around 350 m.
Hand wash and dry flat.