Fiber Fun Month ~ Shetland Sheep Wool

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Shetland sheep are a ancient breed of sheep. They are probably descendants of sheep brought to the Shetland Islands by early Nordic explorers long ago. And the Shetland wool is now world renown. 

Their wool is very soft and fine and is wonderful to spin with. One of neat thing about the Shetland sheep is its variability within the breed. A small flock can produce amazing ultra-fine Shetland yarn, as well as coarser but equally gorgeous yarn that would be great for lovely warm outer garments!

Shetland wool comes in one of the widest ranges of natural colors of any sheep breed in the world. There are 11 main colors and 30 markings with many still having their neat names from the Shetland dialect. Fleeces normally weigh around 2 to 4 pounds each but even 5 to 6 pounds are not uncommon. 

One of the amazing things about this breed is in some Shetlands, the wool will shed in late spring by it's self. For generations the people of the Shetland Islands rooed [ pulled the sheep's wool off by hand ] during that time instead of shearing like so many other sheep breeds need today. We tried rooing my 2 Shetlands this last spring and it turned out great!

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