Monday, 2 April 2018

Portland Sheep Fleece

A friend gave me a bag of Portland fleece.  This is a less improved breed of sheep, considered to be closer to it's early counterpart, than many modern breeds.   It is a pretty sheep, small,with a handsome face and horns.   It is known to be easy to keep,  has only a single offspring but can do so out of season.    Interestingly, it is born red, but turns white within a few months    The bit of fleece I got came from a very well kept sheep.  It had virtually no VM.  It wasn't greasy or dripping with lanolin. 
It had a nice staple length of about 4 1/2 inches and a nice, regular crimp, though it's difficult to see in the photo. 
The fleece was in lovely, well defined locks as well, and I debated whether to wash it all together or separate out the locks out into screen envelopes.   I decided that since I'd intended to hand card it into rolags and spin it with the long draw, I could just wash the fleece without separating the locks.

It took only 2 washes and 2 rinses to get the fleece sparkling white!  I let it dry for a few days on my drying rack, with screening on both the bottom and top of the fibres.   Once dry, I carded the fleece into rolags and had such a fun time spinning it.   It spun so beautifully and made a bouncy, airy yarn with little effort.

Being a primitive down breed, the fibre is a bit on the coarse side, so it is definitely not for close to the skin.   But that breeder should get kudos for producing excellent fleeces.   This would make awesome mittens or outer wear.   I probably should have saved some fibre out for a sample of worsted yarn, but the long draw was effortless with this fibre, so I went with it.


Sharon said...

I have some time right now so am doing some blog catch-up, and oh my goodness have you been busy with an amazing assortment of interests!! The eggs are astonishing, but I’d say the same about the hat, not to mention your progression with the banjo. I’ve never heard of Portland sheep but now I’ll be looking for some since I live in Oregon. The yarn fluffy and beautiful.

Paula said...

Hi I am the breeder of this particular POrtland fleece and live in the UK. Thank you so much for your kind words. We have a smallholding in East Sussex where we breed Portland, Jacob, Coloured Ryeland and interesting crosses. As I spinner myself quality fleece is important and our girls and boys are very spoilt! Thanks once again and I am glad you enjoyed the fleece. Paula