Breed Study: An Exploration of Fleecy Goodness

  Colored Shetland sheep. Photo by Wiki Commons user Andrew from UK.

For every sheep, there is a purpose. Some shepherd decided that a sheep that was larger or smaller or more lustrous or finer or more rugged or whiter or spottier would be just the thing. Discovering the strengths of each kind of sheep is known as a breed study, and it’s a very enlightening pursuit. (As Deborah Robson reminds us in the Spring 2015 Spin-Off, even Down breeds–frequently referred to as “meat sheep”–have interesting useful, and delightful fleece.)

  A Cheviot ewe and twin lambs. Photo by Wiki Commons user Donald Macleod from Stornoway, Scotland.

The Adventures in Fleece Kit contains the beginnings of a breed study that we hope will take you in many directions. The fourteen breeds include a number that can be hard to lay hands on except from a breeder, and they’re in 1-ounce samples that will whet your whistle for some fibers (and might tell you everything you want to know of others). Already washed and prepared, they’re ready for you to dive right in. Melanie Smith shares her pattern for a crocheted modular afghan to use the samples you create

But this is just the beginning. As you develop your library of samples–and begin a By the Ounce Afghan of your own–you can add to your fleece collection at fiber festivals and farms. Develop a breed study pen pal and share locks around the world!

  A flock of Cotswolds. Photo by Wiki Commons user Ben Rudiak-Gould.

The kit contains an ounce each of:

  • Dorset sliver
  • Fine brown Shetland
  • Gray Icelandic top
  • Black Norwegian top
  • Light Coopworth roving
  • Dark brown Welsh top
  • White Cheviot top
  • Karakul top
  • Gray Gotland top
  • White Masham top
  • Cotswold sliver
  • Light gray Swalesdale top
  • Perendale sliver

After all, who wouldn’t want to get to know some of these gals?


imageplaceholder Anne Merrow
Editor, Spin-Off

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