Fiona Gardner's Haunui™ Handcraft Wool comes from her single flock of NZ Halfbred sheep, farmed in south Canterbury. NZ Halfbred is a defined, distinct breed of sheep - I wish they’d chosen another name, because it is confusing! Many spinners in New Zealand (and other places) think it means some sort of crossbred, but it’s actually a stablised cross that’s been available for many decades, originating in the 19th century. Even the New Zealand Black and Coloured Sheepbreeder’s Association seem unsure of the definition, because they give two descriptions on their site! The Spinner's Notes are the most relevant to Haunui™ Wool.
Fiona’s Haunui™ flock is a refinement of that breed, sitting the finer end of Halfbred, with micron counts that are more often found in Merino wool. I think what sets her fleece apart is her careful selection with handspinnning in mind. Over 25 years of intensive breeding of the closed flock have gone into creating this premium combed top. All the Haunui™ Wools are grown and processed within New Zealand to Fiona's exacting standards.
Haunui™ Wool is ideal in the fine and extra fine range and the silk blends for soft, fine to medium yarns and fine and nuno felts, and within the medium range for more substantial yarns and felt work that requires more bulk such as slippers, hats and bags. Having said that, the medium blends with silk make wonderful drapey yarn suitable for lightweight garments and shawls. I have successfully spun medium Haunui™ in both chunky and light fingering weights, and everything in between. When I first started dyeing Haunui™ Wool, I focused on the finer line (now fine and extra fine) but I now dye within both the fine and medium range and have welcomed the advent of outstanding blends with silk and the triple blends, which give a wonderful tonal variation when dyed.
Extra fine white Haunui™ is now available to me, blended with Mulberry Silk. It will be featured in the first listings in September 2020.