Wensleydale Fibre Tops
Wensleydale is a domestic British sheep breed and is named for the Wensleydale region of North Yorkshire, in the north of England, where it was bred in the early nineteenth century by cross-breeding a Dishley Leicester ram with local long-woolled sheep of a breed that is now extinct. The Wensleydale sheep is an endangered breed, and is categorized as "at risk" by the British Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Wensleydales classify as a ‘luster long wool’ breed i.e. a long wool breed specifically selected for the sheen and brilliance of their fleece. Long wool sheep are naturally strong, hard-wearing and lustrous, however Wensleydale fleeces present a thinner fibre diameter and a longer staple length, which makes it softer and even more lustrous than most long wools.
It takes on average 15 months for a lamb to grow its full fleece. Once shorn it will never grow back as long again. On average Wensleydale sheep produce around 5kg of kemp free, usable wool per animal. Wensleydales are easily recognizable due to their extremely long fleece divided in to well-defined curly locks, and their deep blue head and ears.
Wensleydale wool has the great advantage of being shiny, fairly soft and hard wearing. Yarns made from long wool are usually worsted spun, a spinning method that enhances the natural properties of the Wensleydale fleece by adding some extra strength, softness and sheen to the finish product. Ultimately Wensleydale wool is a great fibre to knit with, if you want to prioritize the strength, drape and shine of your knitted garments.
Intrigued by these sheep, you can read more about their history on the IxCHeL blog.
Fibre Top Roving details
Weight per top: 100g / 3.52oz
Contents: Wensleydale 100%
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