British Shetland fleece - Mushroom
Shetland sheep have for generations been noted for their very soft and well crimped fleece. The wool is the finest of all native breeds and shows an amazing variety of colours and markings. There are 11 main whole colours and 30 recognised markings.
Shetland wool fibres are of a simple construction with a central cortex covered by a thin scaly cuticle, and have an average diameter of about 23 microns. However there is a range from 10 to 20 microns for neck and shoulder wool to 25 to 35 microns for britch wool. The average staple length is 3.5 inches. The amount of crimp varies, and is important in providing the 'bounce' required for knitwear. There is a positive correlation between fineness and crimp, with wool of the finest quality being crimped at between 8 and 12 to the inch.
Shetland fleece can be handspun straight from the fleece or made into rolags and then woollen spun. It can also be worsted spun by hand, used on a peg loom or handwoven. It also felts well using either dry or wet methods.