The new issue of Better Homes and Garden’s Knit It! (basically a 112-page ad for Lion Brand yarns) does have a couple of pieces that aren’t about Lion. One that caught my eye is an article about a breed of sheep native to the American Southwest–the Navajo-Churro. “Once on the brink of extinction,” according to the article by Susan M. Strawn, a professor of Textiles at Dominican University in Illinois, the sheep and their wool are having a revival. The wool has always been prized for its deep natural range of colors and was used in the making of traditional navajo rugs.

So, how do you add this new-old yarn to your stash? Well, unfortunately many of the links listed in the article were broken. But after some sleuthing, I found a couple of relavent sites:

Try stopping first at The Navajo-Churro Sheep Association page. They’ve got history, and charming sheep pictures. One of their Members, Cerro Mojino Woolworks does have a page where you can call and order yarn and color cards.

Some of the breeders apparently have received organic certification. One company, Tierra Wools sells organic churro in dyed colors in various weights and also blends it with other wools. Tierra has other organic wools as well.

I’d love to hear if any readers have used the Churro yarn and what they think of it. I’ll try and get my hands on some so I can write a comprehensive review.

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Navajo-Churro Wool

15 thoughts on “Navajo-Churro Wool

  • January 28, 2006 at 7:19 am
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    My husband stopped by Tierra Wool several years ago and picked me up some undyed churro mohair–a “guilt gift” 😉 I used it to knit Cheryl Oberle’s Highland Triangle Shawl. It turned out gorgeous but a little scratchy. I won a 2nd place ribbon at our State Fair with it. Alas, a very disturbed foster child took scissors to the center border and I haven’t taken the time to frog it back and reknit it.

  • January 28, 2006 at 11:56 am
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    Anne http://tinyurl.com/bxbbq
    has spun N.C. – I think from the raw fleece. I know she weaves. You might chat with her for more information.

  • January 28, 2006 at 7:44 pm
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    Wow–I’d love to see a picture of your triangle shawl–even with the damage. There’s a beautiful navajo-style bag pictured in the magazine, but I didn’t notice a pattern for it, I could be wrong.

  • January 29, 2006 at 4:18 pm
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    We have a beautiful little churro named Veronica. The wool can run from having an almost downy undercoat to quite coarse. The fiber generally has little crimp. It spins up beautifully and strong and is an excellent choice for rugs, totes/handbags, and outerwear.

    HTH

    Linda

  • February 7, 2006 at 9:34 am
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    Hi. I have 2 8 oz skeins of knitting yarn in beautiful chocolate brown. Just rolling it into balls was a pleasure — so soft and I swear I felt lanolin but there is no smell (thank goodness). My mom bought it for me several years ago with the intent that I would make a sweater for my 4 year old son. I tried to buy a pattern at the local store but I can’t seem to get the tension right because the wool is stretchy. I wonder if there is a better pattern for this type of yarn. OR maybe I should make something for myself!!! Would be most appreciate of any ideas. I found your blog on the Knitting in the city group and live close to Bethesda. What a coincidence when I saw your piece on the wool.

  • February 7, 2006 at 10:49 am
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    Margy–I’m going to SSK (Silver Spring Knitters) tonight… If you can come, bring your yarn and we can talk about a project for your son.

  • October 24, 2006 at 10:49 am
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    Hi Amy, just surfing around for churro stuff and found your blog. We love churro! We make a variety of things from it. There is a large misconception about the coarseness of the fleece. Some of it will indeed spin up rather coarse(ram fleece) but a lot will spin up very soft depending on the way it is processed. I am doing Navajo weaving at present but my girlfriend makes bags, hats etc and is currently working on a sweater. We love the variety of natural colors and usually don’t dye any of it. We get a wide variety since we run anywhere between 30 and 40 head. At present we have about 25 ewes. By all means go ahead and try it! Also check out the association website for any info you need on the breed. Enjoy!!!!!
    Dan

  • March 6, 2007 at 12:49 pm
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    I found your site by accident – googled Navajo Churro wool and there you were – I raise the sheep, they are wonderful, very beautiful, wily, hardy, and smart. I spin the wool often and have knit afghans, sweaters, hats, socks out of it – also braided a small rug with beginners success. The wool is easy to spin and knit, comes in beautiful colors, the undercoat is sometimes soft, sometimes coarser – depends on the sheep and the age of the sheep. The longer, coarser guard hairs add color, depth, and luster. I love the natural colors – black, shades of browns, grays, whites – and it also takes plant dyes well (I’ve tried indigo, rabbitbrush, marigold, elderberries). Very fun. I recommend it.
    Lynn

  • March 6, 2007 at 12:56 pm
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    Lynn, it’s great to hear about your Churro experience–they do seem like wonderful animals–I’ve since seen them at sheep and wool festivals, and have gotten some great samples of the wool and fleece. I’d love to see pictures of your projects and yarn…

  • December 22, 2009 at 6:50 am
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    Wools have a very attractive features, like it has always been prized for its deep natural range of colors and was used in the making of traditional navajo rugs.

  • December 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm
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    Wools have a very attractive features, like it has always been prized for its deep natural range of colors and was used in the making of traditional navajo rugs.

  • February 5, 2010 at 10:19 am
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    Actually, I don't like wools at all from my childhood. They seem very messy to me.

  • August 10, 2010 at 5:19 am
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    Honestly man I haven't see this kind of animal in front of my eyes. It is so cute and fascinating. I can't control myself to see it's beauty.

  • August 11, 2010 at 7:47 pm
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    To me this is a very rare and beautiful animal. I think most of the people will love it at once.

  • April 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm
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    The wool is awesome! It is easy to spin, low in greese and if you remove the guard hairs is very very soft, or leave them in for a coat that will wear forever. I love working with Churro wool. Be careful in buying fleece however as not all sellers coat their sheep or skirt it well. Some do and have very high quality but like in everything, some are lazy.

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