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Author Topic: Best sheep breed for knitting  (Read 587 times)

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2019, 02:37:34 pm »
Apart from the wool, which breed(s) would you recommend when considering grass only diet (or at least very minimal extra feeding)?
Assuming we have good lowland grazing available all year round.

I’ve said it a lot recently, that if I was considering nothing other than ease of shepherding, including but not limited to ease of lambing(*), I’d have pure Shetland every single time.  And they absolutely don’t need more than grass (and a bit of hay in winter) if being pure bred.

Fabulous fleece too, of course.

(*) And when I say a sheep is easy lambing, I mean I don’t have to intervene - so that’s unassisted births, lambs up and running around to the milk bar, mum doing her job outside with no penning, no additional support required.  As close to 100% of the time as poss.  No other breed comes close to Shetland in my (not inconsiderable) experience.
Great. Thanks very much.
What about welsh sheep?
I mean balwen, black or badger face?
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.
Voss Electric Fence

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2019, 04:54:07 pm »

Great. Thanks very much.
What about welsh sheep?
I mean balwen, black or badger face?

Actually, the Welsh sheep breeds are ones of which I have no experience as a shepherd, except Lleyn.  I have, however, spun a few various Welsh fleeces.  The Balwen was fairly horrid, right at the coarse and harsh end of the spectrum - rug wool.  The Torwen was a little better, but not very enjoyable - outer wear and bags, maybe.  The Torddu was nicer, might be worth trying a few others to see if they’re generally ok.  A Speckled-faced Beulah was very nice, could be worth trying a few others to see if they’re generally as nice as the one I had.  Llanwenog is nice, definitely a breed you could consider.  The Kerry Hill I had was not so nice, although I think others could be nicer. I had a sample of one very exceptional Welsh Black Mountain - but I was told it was an unusually gorgeous one.  I had a Hill Radnor, which was reminiscent in its handle of Rough Fell - the coarsest of the northern dark faced hill and mountain sheep.  (But remember that lady in Cumbria using Rough Fell in her tweed blend - it is a blend, though, and I don’t know what proportion is Rough Fell or what it’s blended with).

So on my experience of fleece, if you’re wanting a Welsh choice, I’d think look further at Llanwenog, Beulah, Torddu.  Of these, only Llanwenog is on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust list.  Of the other Welsh breeds, Balwen and pedigree Welsh Mountain are also classified as rare, but I think the fleeces would need blending to make a usable knitting yarn.

Sorry I can’t share any personal experience of shepherding any of these.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

milliebecks

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2019, 01:49:11 pm »
I have Shetlands and agree that they're a great breed to keep, for all the reasons Sallyintnorth mentions.
They also have a lovely variety of natural colours, which is great for small scale hand spinners and knitters like me. But It's worth bearing in mind that if you are sending fleece for spinning on a large scale, you either need to send colours separately, keep a flock of one colour exclusively, or accept that what you get back will be at best 'beige' and at worst 'sludge' coloured!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2019, 08:46:00 pm »
I have Shetlands and agree that they're a great breed to keep, for all the reasons Sallyintnorth mentions.
They also have a lovely variety of natural colours, which is great for small scale hand spinners and knitters like me. But It's worth bearing in mind that if you are sending fleece for spinning on a large scale, you either need to send colours separately, keep a flock of one colour exclusively, or accept that what you get back will be at best 'beige' and at worst 'sludge' coloured!

True, milliebecks - but the different colours, if not completely blended, would give the tweed look that macgro7 loves ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2019, 09:50:24 pm »
That would be nice.
I think I will get at least two breeds initially. Perhaps breed some true and cross some.
Maybe Shetland and Dorset Down (or Hampshire if we can't find any)? That will give us good wool, trouble free lambing, some slow growing lambs and some fast growing lambs.
Otherwise we 'll just scrap wool altogether and we 'll go for Exlana  :roflanim:
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2019, 11:44:51 pm »
Shetland x Down could be very interesting.  I have quite a few Shetland x Blue-faced Leicester, and that to the Shetland again, and again.  Lovely fleeces, all of them  :hugsheep:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

YawningAngel

  • Joined Jun 2019
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2019, 08:48:07 am »
I appreciate that I'm new here, and have a lot to learn, but I'm pretty sure that you can't train sheep to knit, regardless of the breed...just saying...

Paul

 :coat:


DavidandCollette

  • Joined Dec 2012
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2019, 11:36:55 am »
 :roflanim:

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Best sheep breed for knitting
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2019, 03:03:08 pm »
I appreciate that I'm new here, and have a lot to learn, but I'm pretty sure that you can't train sheep to knit, regardless of the breed...just saying...

Paul

 :coat:
That s a good idea!
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

 

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