Cushy, thy name is Cormo
Posted on September 15 2021
Cormo is a modern sheep. If you look them up in a breeds tome published before 1960, you won't find them mentioned. Young though their breed may be, Cormo have a venerable lineage. They are the well-considered offspring of Corriedale rams (themselves a New Zealand cross of merino and long-wool Lincolns) with softest of soft Saxon merino. Hence the name, Cormo—a syllable from each parent.
The first Cormo sheep were bred in Tazmania by shepherd Ian Downie in consultation with geneticist Dr. Helen Newton-Taylor in Australia. The goal in marrying the two breeds was to preserve the soft hand of the Saxon merino while encouraging a more resilient, productive animal. The initial cross and subsequent breeding was carefully controlled, with sheep regularly monitored for desired traits.
The cross was wildly successful. Cormo sheep are hardy, bear lambs easily, and are good moms, traits that make them an excellent choice for ranchers in various climates. They are prized for their fluffy, mostly white wool, which is consistently fine throughout the fleece. By normal Cormo standards, micron count (diameter of single fibers and measure of softness) doesn’t vary more than 2% within the fleece, landing somewhere between 17 and 23 microns (the micron count of cashmere is 19 or less) . In addition to consistent softness, Cormo wool is famous for good, even crimp, a trait we knitters love because it adds bounce and elasticity to yarn.
Cormo, as you might imagine from its clean white fleece, dyes beautifully. Colors come out clear and well-saturated. Because it's so soft, Cormo is an excellent choice for garments you wear next to the skin. Think hats that pull down over the forehead, baby blankets, and fitted sweaters.
Stone Wool Cormo is made from wool that comes from ranches in Wyoming and Montana. We spin the yarn in a mill out West using a system that combines worsted and woolen spinning, a method which gives our yarn the best of both worlds. It's lofty, soft, plenty durable, and oh-so-cushy. So cushy, in fact, that you can knit it up on a variety of needle sizes, smaller for mittens and hats where you want some density to keep out the wind, larger for sweaters with drape and swing.
Really. It's almost the perfect yarn.
Our cushy Stone Wool Cormo is available in 19 beautiful colorways.