Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s 2011 Watchlist for sheep

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust, which monitors the status of livestock breeds in the British Isles, has published its 2011 Watchlist of breeds that need attention to stay, as they say, off the slippery slope to extinction. From the whole list (a PDF), I'm focusing here on the sheep: Categories are based on numbers of … Read more

South Wales Mountain wool (and kemp)

Most of the time fiber folk look for and exclaim over fine, soft wools, with good reason. They're lovely to work with and they feel really good in our hands and when we wear clothing made from them. Merino is by far the most famous of these wools. What I have been playing with recently … Read more


It's shaping up to be a fine day. One of the things I love about wool is its variety, and what's going into the tub today represents quite a range: There's Castlemilk Moorit, a very rare breed closely related to Shetlands. The provider of this sample apologized for its second cuts (snippets caused by shearing … Read more

Suffolk and gray not-Suffolk, revisited

A gray Suffolk fleece would be a curious and remarkable thing indeed. So when I saw "grey Suffolk roving" advertised, I had to order some. ("Gray" is the U.S. spelling; "grey" is the U.K. spelling, and the way the fiber is labeled. I'll try to be consistent in my usage, but I'm not copyediting right … Read more