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Author Topic: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.  (Read 4772 times)

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« on: March 16, 2013, 11:41:59 am »
I have taken up spinning, we have nice coloured fleeces from our Zwartbles flock, however I am thinking of having another breed with a nice fleece to spin.  We would like the breed to meet the criteria for HLS native rare breed at risk supplement ideally. We are on an upland farm on land classed as severely disadvantaged(grass not moorland) on the Shropshire, Welsh border  so probably a lowland breed would not be classed as suitable so the longwools are out.  Clun Forest are our local breed, however have been told that they are not easy to lamb, which is a bit offputting, also local to us are Kerry Hill, but open to other suggestions to consider, including with coloured fleeces, but preferably not as dark as the Zwartbles as we have plenty of their fleece.  thank you

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2013, 11:47:59 am »
I know someone fairly near you that I think still has Hill Radnors. PM me if it's of interest.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2013, 12:07:54 pm »
Manx Loaghtan!  One of my absolute favourite fibres, and lovely little sheep absolutely chock full of personality  :love:

Castlemilk Moorit are beautiful little sheep but the fleece is such a short staple that it can be a very difficult fibre to spin.  Plus the gene pool is very limited and I think there is a lot of variation in fleece quality within the breed at the moment.  Of course you could decide to establish a fleece flock, and work on improving fleece quality in your flock...  ;)

Hebs - but they're predominantly black... Mind, you could focus on the rarer colours...   ;)  Oh, Hebs are not on the RBST watchlist any more.

North Ronaldsay but you need copper-deficient ground and to be sure they can't access copper anywhere.  NR is another double-coated breed, so I believe you can spin thel, tog or lopi. 

Portland - super little tan-faced sheep, the cutest brown lambs, and really lovely fleece.

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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Dogwalker

  • Joined Nov 2011
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2013, 12:25:48 pm »
tizaala has some very nice CMM for sale atm  ;D
(they're avoiding me today coz I vacc'd them yesterday.)
 
 

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2013, 12:42:14 pm »
Thanks for the replies,
Will investigate Hill Radnor further, I hadn't thought that they would have a particularly soft fleece, but having had a quick google see it is softer than some of the other hill breeds.

Hebridean are still on the HLS list Sally, so would be a possibility but I don't really want another very dark fleece, have also been told that the Zwartbles fleece is much nicer to spin than Hebridean, and I really want something with a lovely fleece, as it needs to be worthwhile to go through the hassle and expense of MV accreditation, which has previously but us off having another fibre breed as we couldn't find accreditated stock. Hoping the supplement would allow for the extra costs of MV accreditation but also need to check that it would still be allowable alongside the Zs which are not eligible.

Manx Loaghtans sound interesting, didn't realise they had such a nice fibre, will have to see if there are any in the area, will also look up the Portlands, think we may have to do some travelling to acquire one of these breeds!

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2013, 12:58:17 pm »
We have had to use a lot of electric fencing, this is several strands rather than electric netting, on our land to ensure the double fencing needed against the neighbouring fields for the MV scheme. I am a bit concerned about the use of electric fencing with a horned breed, so would appreciate any advice, but if the 2 definitely don't mix then it will have to be a polled breed.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 03:46:44 pm »
Oh.  Yes, I wouldn't fancy electric fencing with horns, really.  Definitely not the netting type - maybe someone has had experience with horned sheep and 2 or 3 strands of wire or tape...?

I looked up Hill Radnor in my Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook for you - it can be finer than other Welsh hill breeds' wool, yes.  But there is usuallly some kemp (easy to remove) and coarser fibres.

Overall it's a pretty similar to, maybe a little finer and softer than, the typical 'English 56s' fibre - occasionally soft enough for next-to-the-skin, mostly would be used for not-next-to-the-skin.

Staple length of 2-6" (normally 3-5"), medium crimp. 

Statwise, not dissimilar to Zwartbles.


However, as with almost all breeds these days, there has been so little focus on wool quality for so long that the fleece from individual animals can very widely.

So again, you could make get a flock started and then work on improving fleece quality while maintaining the other breed standards.
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Richard Underwood

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Cathilas Farm Soay - Hogget & Prime Mutton
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2013, 08:45:15 pm »
Hi, I use polyrope (ie like wire but thicker) for electric fencing of horned Soay without problem - I generally use 4 strands but I need it to be extra secure as it is keeping them off my vegetable patch!

zarzar

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • kent
  • Z.Glenfield :)
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2013, 08:58:44 pm »
we got portlands they get not had any foot problems or anything yet and they also get very friendly and look nice.
1 cat,2 thoroughbred horses,1 dog, handfull of bird various types and hoping to get sheep again

LandieMan

  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2013, 07:23:08 pm »
Blacksheep where are you in the country. I have some Manx if you would like to try a fleece.

Fowlman

  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Wiltshire
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2013, 07:35:25 pm »
My wife spins and we keep a few shetlands, lovely fleece.
Tucked away on the downs in wiltshire.

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Re: Best native breeds for soft fleeces for handspinning.
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 02:47:11 pm »
Thanks all for the replies, will pm you Landieman   :)

 

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