First up: Polwarth
Polwarth is a fine wool, a bit coarser than merino or cormo. In fact, Polwarth sheep are the result of breeding merino rams with merino/Lincoln cross ewes. But don't think that "coarser" means anything close to coarse. Polwarth is a bit easier to spin than merino because its fibers are a touch thicker (by a coupe of microns) but it still feels like butter. It's that soft.
I was a bit surprised by this because the BFL top actually felt softer to me in ball form than the Polwarth did. I didn't really notice the true softness of this fiber until I split a chunk of the top into thirds in preparation for spinning. It sure is lovely!
Polwarth sheep live in Australia, New Zealand, parts of South America, and the Falkland Islands (which I suppose are technically part of South America). None live in the US, although I'm not sure why. But that question will have to wait for another day since I'm having too much fun spinning it to take time for a google search.
The fleece & fiber book noted that Polwarth is great for next-to-the-skin wear (even baby knits) and should be spun fine with high twist for durability. I'm shooting for a 2-ply fingering weight or thereabouts to keep the finished yarn usable. Polwarth is supposed to bloom quite a bit upon washing so I'm really curious to see what this looks like once it's set.
Enough with the talking, what does it look like?
I actually have more than this spun up but the light stinks for an accurate picture. Somehow I managed to finish the first bobbin, about 2.5 ounces of fiber. Let's see what I can do tomorrow!