Specializing in healthy natural fleeces, rovings, felts and yarns
The origin of Shetland Sheep is clouded in mystery. They are thought to have been brought by the Vikings well over 1000 years ago to the Shetland Islands.They would be related to the same group of Northern European Short tail breeds as the Icelandics. Their natural colours range from white to variations of black and grey to all shades and variations of brown with many patterns. Spinners and knitters of the Shetland Islands over the years have become renowned for their ability to spin and knit wedding shawls that can easily pass through a woman's wedding band. At the same time Shetland sweaters are regarded as one of the sturdiest and most durable types known. The Shetland fleece is a truly multi purpose fleece. A well defined double coated fleece with both coats intact would be an excellent choice for outer wear. If the wool is intended for wear close to the skin, a " kindly" fleece or the separated undercoat would be perfect. There are also single coated fleeces which fall in between and will be used for items depending on the "handle" or feel. A Shetland fleece with silky handle and nice drape are ideal for garments spun worsted. These can be woven into cloth that does not pill when they are worn. The fleece can be combed, spun, and knit into " Fair Isle" pattern sweaters.
The Icelandic Sheep were first brought to Iceland by the Norsemen between 845 and 900 AD. It is one of the World's oldest and purest of breeds. The Icelandic is a triple purpose breed treasured for its meat, milk and wool. The fleece is double coated and comes in white as well as a wide array of colours and patterns. Icelandics have one of two base colours, black or Moorit ( brown). Individual sheep may display various shades of these colours/patterns ranging from white, cream, light grey, tan, caramel, milk chocolate, silver, dark chocolate, dark grey, to jet black. The Icelandic ewes average 130 -160 Lbs, rams average 180 - 220 Lbs. The fleece averages up to 10 inches including both the Thel ( undercoat) and the Tog (outer or hair coat). The average adult fleece weighs 4-7 Lbs. The outer coat has a spinning count of 56-60 with a micron count of 27-30 and is strong, lustrous, water and wear resistant. The Thel is soft and downy and has a spinning count of 64-70 with a micron count of 19-22. The combination of the two fibres gives excellent protection from the cold and wet. The two coats can be separated from each other for special projects or left intact The traditional lopi is a lightly spun blend of tog and thel. The thel is fine garments. The tog is similar to Mohair, wavy or corkscrewed rather than crimped like the thel and is good for worsted spinning. The versatility of the wool, ease of spinning, and wide variations of natural colour put Icelandic wool in the premium category. It is also one of the best fleeces for felting.
Alpacas are clean, intelligent animals of the Camelid family native to Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. They were domesticated over 5000 years ago by the Incas. Their fine, cashmere like fibre was once reserved only for royalty. There are two types of Alpacas, Huacaya, and Suri. The Huacaya has a crimped or wavy fleece whereas the Suri has a long straight fleece. Alpacas typically live 20 - 25 years. Adults weigh 125 - 175 Lbs. and stand 34 - 36 in at the withers. Alpaca babies ( Crias, pronounced " cree - a") weigh 14 - 20 Lbs at birth. Gestation is 11 mos. Alpaca fleece comes in a variety of colours ranging from white, brown, grey, fawn, black to any combination or variation of these colours. The Alpaca has the widest assortment of colours of any fibre bearing animal. Alpaca fibre is strong and resilient. It has natural air pockets that create lightweight garments with high insulation values. The cellular structure of the fibre produces a soft handle unmatched by most specialty fibres. Alpaca fibre has a rich, natural luster; is easily dyed and still retains its luster; it does not pill, tear, stain, or create static and it is hypoallergenic. It can be spun in the worsted or woolen manner. Alpaca fibre can be blended with other fibres ( Nylon, sheep's wool, Mohair, etc.) to make sweaters, hats, mittens, blankets, scarves, shawls, duvets, etc