These are the breeds that have marino crossed with something else. Often times that something else also originates in its own merino cross, like Corriedale which is an English Leicester or Lincoln and Merino cross. These breeds include CVM, Corriedale, Polwarth, Debouillet, Targhee, etc. You can see where this is going.
Generally speaking, these breeds retain all the wonderful Merino traits we know and love: amazing crimp, really dense locks with a LOT of fibers per square inch, nice hand, good drape, excellent memory, pleasant texture (by which I mean next to skin softness).
I love spinning these breeds because I find that they feel more lively in my hand when I work with them compared to merino. Don’t get me wrong – when it comes to endless enjoyment and spinning my default frog hair to get 1600 yards of 2-ply laceweight, merino is hard to beat. But when I have the opportunity to spin Polwarth or Targhee, I simply find that I enjoy it even more. Their crosses bring something to the table that makes them… more, different, interesting. I tend to like the Merino derivatives more than Merino for this added character. And some of those breeds, like Polwarth, Bond, CVM, and Targhee, I really like a lot!
Sometimes, when I encounter spinners who struggle with Merino – maybe it’s slick, too fine, so soft, super special, any number of things – I hand them some derivatives and they discover the joys. Other times I encounter spinners who have only spun Merino and want to branch out – but are nervous about a wider array of textures and characteristics – I hand them a derivative and gently introduce more variety.
So many options, so little time…..