This is the most common question I get from customers.
What is Rambouillet?
Simply put it’s a breed of sheep. It’s a short hair breed and if a fine wool (same category as and actually related to merino). The fiber has more of a matte look than merino and it takes dye beautifully. It has more bounce than merino and the fiber tend to hold more air so it’s usually warmer. It’s elasticity makes it great for blending with luxury fibers. The sheep are very hardy and have a strong herd instinct, preferring to sleep together than apart.
Rambouillet is one of the most durable wools I have ever used. It was my favorite yarn I used when I cloth diapered my son because of this. I knitted pants, called longies, that were a diaper cover. They never felted at his diaper or knees (from all the crawling and climbing toddlers do) and looked new years later.
Rambouillet is next to skin soft. The soft feel is different than merino, where merino has a slippery, almost silky feel, rambouillet has a cottony, buttery feel. I love how it feels to knit and crochet with and how it feels to wear.
The fibers of a Rambouillet are a bit disorganized giving it a wonderful loft. The extra air in the fiber makes it warmer than other fine wools.
This breed was started in France and was a gift to American after the Revolution. Since then this sheep have flourished in western American where it’s a favorite because it’s very hardy and it’s strong herd instinct helps protect it from predators. This was one of the first sheep heavily developed in the US and thanks to the dedication of the ranchers that have worked with this sheep we now have this wonderful wool.