Just look at these beautiful curly wool locks. In their natural white colour, they are begging to be turned into something amazing by your hands.
These are shearling locks, which means they came from the lamb’s first shear – these are the softest and longest the animal will ever produce in their lifetime. These bundles can vary from 23-28cm or 9-11″ staple, coming from a Leicester Longwool sheep named Bright Eyes.
This fleece was directly sourced from the shepherd, in a small UK farm dedicated to this native British rare breed.
I carefully scoured and hand washed the locks using a gentle, wool-specific detergent, and separated them into practical 1 ounce bundles. I have done my utmost to preserve the fibre’s curly structure, so please be aware that tiny amounts of vegetable matter may still be present. The tips are naturally slightly beige/yellow.
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.
- Dollmaking – rerooting doll hair. A lot of my hand dyed curly wool locks have actually ended up as gorgeous doll hair!
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. *
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.
The last two photos in this listing are of the same fleece, but are not part of the listing sale. They show the fleece after washing but not yet fully processed.
* – information gathered from Wikipedia and The Field Guide to Fleece (by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius).