Dual coated fleece – Icelandic fleece is the most versatile of all breeds, a hand spinner’s dream! The wool felts easily and is prized by fiber artists.
The two coats are Tog and Thel:
Tog: strong, long (to 18 inches) and lustrous the outer coat provides wind, rain, and dust protection for the sheep. It has little crimp and hangs in loose curls. Traditionally used for sails, rope, sewing thread, belts, rugs, wall hangings, saddle clothes, lace shawls, and embroidery yarns.
Thel: the soft under coat that keeps the sheep warm is very fine, as small as 10 microns in diameter. Used for soft fine woolen yarns in under garments, fancy mittens, socks and baby clothes. This fiber has some crimp.
The two coats spun together – makes Lopi yarn that is similar to a mohair wool blend and is suitable for sweaters, socks, hats and felts up nicely after knitting or crocheting.
Dual coat easily separated – just pull both ends of the lock, or use wool cards or viking combs.
Soft “handle” – wool is rated at a 62 to 64 spinning count, fiber ranges from 10 to 27 microns in diameter and feels very soft to the hand.
Long staple – fleece can grow to 18 inches in a year. For best and cleanest hand spinning fleeces, ewes are sheared twice a year, in March and in November, with the fall clip used for spinning and the spring clip used for felting.
Minimal preparation – the naturally clean locks only need to have the tips flicked or combed to untangle the long tog and then can be easily spun from the grease or washed locks. It can be processed into carded batts or roving. Viking combs are a natural for this kind of fleece.
Wide range of natural lustrous fleece colors – 27 different colors and patterns including:
Whites – can range from very “white-white” through creams and tans
Blacks – can range in hues from blue black, inky black, silvery black and brown black.
Moorits – (browns) range from a pale beige, orange-apricot, taffy, milk chocolate, chestnut, dark chocolate, black brown, mocha and silvering browns.
Badger Faces – wide range of fleece colors, from buff and champagne through oatmeal. In addition, some parts of the fleece may have gray or silver bases to the fiber
Grays – from blue gray, lilac, medium silver, dark gray, and brown grays
Mixed Colors – fleeces can have an undercoat that is a different color than the outer coat which produces a true tweed yarn.
Less lanolin in the fleece – means more fiber yield per pound of raw fleece. Icelandic fleeces have a 20 to 29% shrink, compared to modern breeds where 50% of the fleece weight is in the wool grease. Therefore, a 7 pound Icelandic fleece would yield as much fiber as a 10 lb. fleece of a modern breed.
Fleece weights: 5 to 7 pounds per year for adults; 3 to 4 pounds for a 7 month old lamb fleece.
The best fleece for felting – long famous with fiber artists for its excellent felting properties! Makes a fast felting, soft, strong product. Easily made into hats, vests, masks, purses, slippers and boots. Traditionally the yarn was knitted into garments three sizes too large and then felted down to size to make the clothing windproof.
Hand spun yarns – I spin a lot of my fiber into 100% Icelandic yarns, Lopi style. Very high quality and much softer than the commercial imported Lopi. Please visit my on-line store for pictures and prices.
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