There is nothing more beautiful that ethically farmed wool locks – you know the sheep is being well taken care of and you get to spin or felt your fibre knowing you’re helping a small British farm dedicated to the conservation of this rare breed Leicester Longwool.
This fleece came from a sheep named Muriel and she was kind enough to grow around 15cm long curly locks for us. Muriel lives in an English farm and is kept for her fibre (not meat) by a shepherd who cares very much about his flock’s welfare. These are happy sheep indeed!
I scoured and hand washed these curly wool locks using a gentle, wool-specific detergent. This listing is for the wool in a relatively processed state, meaning I have slightly combed and separated the locks, still preserving a lot of its curly structure. The tips are naturally slightly beige/yellow.
Follow this link if you want ethically farmed wool locks in a more preserved structure.
What are these curly wool locks good for?
Long wools with such well defined lock structure are fantastic for various crafts:
- Spinning – use them to spin art yarns. The tailspinning technique would be a perfect way to showcase these wool locks. The video below may help give you some ideas.
- Wet felting – adding locks to a felted work can yield some lovely textured results.
- Needle felting – funnily enough, these locks would make great curls for a sheep sculpture, or a gnome’s beard. The choices are endless.
A little about the Leicester Longwool breed
The Leicester Longwool, also known as Bakewell Leicester, Improved Leicester and New Leicester, was originally developed by the breeding innovator Robert Bakewell in the 18th century.
They are among the world’s largest sheep breed. Their fleeces have beautiful and distinct locks with well-defined crimp, which can grow up to 36cm or 14″ long. Leicester Longwool sheep’s wool diameter ranges from 32 to 46 microns, making it a very soft, yet sturdy, fibre.
This breed is classified as “endangered” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, with fewer than 500 registered breeding females remaining in the UK. In North America, the Leicester Longwool is preserved by the efforts of private breeders. *
Disclaimer on colours
I’ve done my very best to make sure colours run true in the photos, but please note that your monitor settings may differ from mine.
* – information gathered from Wikipedia and The Field Guide to Fleece (by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius).