My interest in fibers and the process came through my involvement with Agriculture in the Classroom. We raised sheep, I was on the California Ag in Classroom Board in the early 1990s and wanted to have something to teach the kids about Agriculture. Since we had sheep, wool was the perfect answer, and I set out to learn as much as I could. Later I took my Fiber Arts skills to the next level with the help of Bonnie Chase and the Warner Mountain Weavers. She and her teaching staff taught me to spin, weave, knit, and natural dye. We started cleaning and carding my wool and soon decided that it was better suited to being cleaned and carded in a mill. We found Worsted Spinning New England (formerly Jagger Brothers) in Maine and Mountain Meadows Wool in Buffalo, Wyoming and have developed a line of yarn that is still evolving. We have grown a lot since that first 30 lbs in 2015. We now have 10 different yarns in 12 colors.
Warner Mountain Weavers in Cedarville, CA is Lani's Lana ~ Fine Rambouillet Wool's flagship store and warehouse. All yarn and combed top is stored and displayed here. When customer's place an order, it is packed and shipped from the store. We also have locally produced Handwoven Rugs, natural bedding products by Coyuchi and Full Circle Wool, Rugs expertly hooked and displayed by Jitterbug Rugs, Bonnie's hand painted yarn under the label Deep Creek Yarns and a variety of other yarns and knitting/crochet/spinning/weaving supplies. For a small store, we have an amazing selection!! When in Cedarville, visit our shop or look for us at events like Lamb Town in Dixon, CA, Fibershed's Wool Symposium in Point Reyes Station, CA, and the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR. Bonnie also hosts a Wool Gathering every September in Cedarville, CA. Please visit the Warner Mountain Weavers website at https://www.warnermtnweavers.com
The Rambouillet and Merino Breeds of sheep are very similar and originated from the same blood lines. The Rambouillet originates from the Spanish Merino Stock and were known for producing the finest wool in the world. The Spanish banned the export of the breed, but the King of Spain finally granted 359 sheep be given to France in 1786. The sheep were located in Rambouillet, France and became known as Rambouillet sheep. They made their way to America in 1840 from Germany and have become the backbone of the western United State Sheep Industry. They are well suited to the dry open range climate and do very well here. They are a little larger than Merino, are not as apt to wool blindness, and have smoother skin, making them easier to shear.
The wool is essentially the same as Merino Wool and is marketed under the Merino name most of the time. Originating from the same genes, the Rambouillet and Merino sheep produce identical fibers. The Merino clothing that you may be enjoying may very well be from Rambouillet sheep!
We cross our Rambouillet ewes with Hampshire or Suffolk rams to produce a larger, meatier lamb, but our ewe herds are maintained as Rambouillet. We sometimes get a black or colored Rambouillet which is a recessive gene in the breed. We keep all of the colored ewes because they are marker sheep which help keep the herds from straying and also because the fine wool produced in color is unusual and highly sought after. This is why we can offer naturally colored wool from a sheep that is traditionally white. Lani keeps all of the colored wool for the yarn business.
Many of the photos on this page are by Paige Green, courtesy of Fibershed.