Thursday, April 12, 2012

Variegated Sheep

This winter we got a bunch of commercially prepared roving from friends on San Juan Island who also have Cotswold sheep. In fact we got our most recent ram from them. Joel said the roving spun up beautifully and today I started weaving a rug from the resulting yarn. It is a lovely soft grey color but as I was watching the fabric grow on the loom I realized that the gorgeous variegations of the Cotswold wool has been homogenized in the commercial carding. You can see a bit of it if you look close but it is very subtle.Joel has always spun up our wool right from the fleece. We don't card it first and I wash it after it is spun into yarn. We've never sent it off to be commercially carded or spun because well, we are the do-it-yourself sort of people who like to avoid paying someone to do something we can do ourselves. But I hadn't realized this aesthetic value of doing it that way. The yarn from the commercial roving is lovely and so are the rugs but I miss those stripes of light and dark wool that come from spinning the yarn directly from the fleece. I'm not sure it would be possible to do this on a commercial scale.
Colored Cotswold sheep have variegated fleeces as you can see in this picture. An individual fleece can vary from dark brown to very light grey. I'm sure it makes the wool useless in a commercial sense as you need a more consistent color particularly if you are going to dye it. But for our uses this is special.


  1. How beautiful! I would love to dye YOUR spun yarn. The variations of dark and light would take the dye in a beautiful way!

  2. Anne, I have dyed the yarn and it is beautiful thanks to the variegations.