Jacob Sheep

A Jacob Ewe

The January/February 2013 Handwoven is all about wonderful woolen weaving. While the issue includes projects from your accustomed wool yarns, there are also some lesser-used wools including a project made from Jacob wool.


The Jacob sheep is an ancient heirloom breed that has been around for millennia. In fact, the name “Jacob” comes from the Old Testament and it is one of the earliest stories of selective wool breeding. According to the Book of Genesis, Jacob picked out all the piebald sheep from his father-in-law’s flock and bred them to develop a new breed.


Jacob sheep are typically black and white, and they can have anywhere from two to six horns. Their fleece is light, springy, and contains very little lanolin. Because the sheep’s fleeces are speckled, when spun they can produce lovely, heathery-looking yarns often used in the manufacture of tweed fabrics. As with many breeds of sheep, some Jacob fleeces are softer than others, depending on the individual sheep and the flock. 

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