Fleece and Fibre
Here is an unskirted white Ryeland fleece on my kitchen floor. The grouting of the tiles will give some idea of the dimensions. It weighed around 2.5kg before I started skirting it.
This is the full analysis of the survey results, which were summarised in our pre Christmas email newsletter.
Here we look at three important aspects of fleece and fibre: consistency/style, colour and animal health.
Consistency varies considerably between different breeds, within the breed and across the animal. We can have Gotland sheep, all of which have lustre longwool, with wide variations of thickness and crimp between different animals and a range of these across the body of an individual.
One of the joys of having our own mill, is that it gives us the freedom to experiment and try new things. For the last two years we've celebrated our birthday in September by creating a limited edition - one of a kind - yarn, and this year is no exception. Like all our yarns the development of Brushwork was an organic process, which began with the fibre.
Here at Blacker Yarns we try not to have favourites amongst the sheep breeds, but Gotland sheep do have a rather special place in our hearts. Perhaps because they’re the sheep Sue Blacker herself keeps?
We’re really excited to be launching a brand new colour palette in our 100% Gotland DK yarn on August 9th, and thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about this very special breed in more detail.
Lyonesse DK in Serpentine, Citrine and Aquamarine
We use linen in our Lyonesse yarn range – it adds great drape, crispness and strength to a yarn, but have you ever wondered how linen comes into being?
Length is less relevant to the processor than to the breeder! After all, the breeder will be expecting to show animals in full fleece in all their glory, while the processor has to sort out the fibres and put them through machines. So the processor can rely on some fibres breaking as they are processed and also may chop up some fibre to make it more usable, particularly if it is thick and strong. A hand-spinner might wish to spin individual long locks together and craft workers may use individual locks as part of a design (e.g. wedding dress).
The Bluefaced Leicester is a noble breed, originating from selective breeding in the early twentieth century by Robert Bakewell, specifically hand-picked for their “blue faces”, referring to their very dark blue, almost black skin. The sheep themselves are friendly in nature, while their Roman noses provide an air of aristocracy.