Wool: A bit more on North Ronaldsay

Linda thanked me in the comments for offering a photo of a North Ronaldsay lock. I'd only shown one lock, and that's not the whole story by a long shot, so I'll supplement here. I have a selection of five different samples (thanks to Jennifer Heverly at Spirit Trail Fiberworks . . . one of my allies in this Massive Project I'm working on). Why and how they are different makes a fascinating story for another time.


Interesting, isn't it?

More or less double-coated, and dramatically so. The undercoats on the double-coated fleeces (the ones with the long, coarse guard hairs, second and fourth from either left or right) are similar to the fine fibers of the single-coated fleeces (first, third, and fifth, also from either direction).

So if you have been interested in North Ronaldsay and haven't been able to get your mind around the wool, this is why. The story is in the history of the breed.

I have another post to prep, on the Suffolk and the not-Suffolk discussion that started in March. So off to it. . . . Oh, and I have work to do today, too. I'm doing a week-long artist's residency through Colorado Art Ranch and need to make as much progress as possible during this time when I can actually concentrate.


5 thoughts on “Wool: A bit more on North Ronaldsay”

  1. Thanks much for the pictures of the locks.

    There is definitely some outer coat hair, but not much, in the rovings I’ve got, and more in the white than the coloured, which resembles the lock on the far right.

    If I could get a good picture of the rovings, I’d send it to you, but an hour of messing around with it and the camera yesterday was pretty useless.

    It’s definitely not coarse though….

  2. That you actually have North Ronaldsay rovings is a bit of a marvel. That takes connections! The folks in Orkney have been doing a good job of developing ways to process and market the wool. I hope it becomes more readily available because it’s so interesting.

    “Definitely not coarse” would be the right category. North Ronaldsays are what the Shetlands were like in the past, before a century or two of selective breeding.

  3. The BIL did mention he scouted around a fair bit for it, but he does like a challenge. 🙂

    Needless to say, I was utterly amazed when he produced it out of his bag and actually apologized for it not being very big.

    My mixed collection is about the size of a tennis ball, weighs maybe half an ounce max (my scale isn’t that accurate), and cost him £ 1.

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