The World's Woolliest Sheep vs. Average Sweater Output per Shearing

Meet Chris. He is an Australian Merino sheep who wandered from his flock and roamed on his own for six years. When he was finally found and sheared, Chris was toting nearly 90 pounds of wool--enough to knit an estimated 30 sweaters and set an unofficial world record.

Chris, the unofficial record holder for world's woolliest sheep. Photo: RSPCA
Chris unseated former mega-fleece champions Shrek and Big Ben, both of New Zealand, to take the crown for world's woolliest.

Shrek the sheep became a national celebrity when he was discovered in 2004 after six years on the lam.
In 2014, Big Ben briefly held the title for world's woolliest sheep. No word on what he thinks of Chris.
Unlike these three walking puffballs, who yielded fleeces of 40kg, 27kg, and 29kg, respectively, a more typical Merino wool fleece weighs in around 4.5kg, or about 10 pounds. Keep in mind that this is for the uncleaned "grease" wool, which contains a fair amount of dust and dirt.

Once cleaned, a 10-pound fleece generates somewhere around three to four pounds of usable yarn.
Sweaters range in weight from approximately three-quarters of a pound to a pound and a half, depending on their size and thickness. This all translates into somewhere between two and five sweaters per shearing. This varies, of course, depending on the type of sheep and thickness of its wool, but provides a general sense of sweater output. (This helpful overview from Sheepmagazine.com sheds more light on the topic.)

Stay warm and woolly out there!

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“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid. 


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