As a result of upcoming teaching opportunities at Stratford Ecological Center, I recently found myself in need of a few pounds of wool. I found a number of small Ohio farms raising sheep, and one in particular caught my eye. Blackhavens Farm raises a breed of sheep that I recognized from the hours I’ve spent reading and re-reading The Knitter’s Book of Wool.
Icelandic sheep are a primitive breed whose genetic makeup has remained unchanged for 1,100 years when the first sheep were brought to Iceland by the Vikings. Their fleece is notable for its interesting color variability and its dual-coated nature. Thel, short, short, irregularly crimped fibers, make up the undercoat of the wool. The outer fibers, called tog, are longer, more lustrous fibers that can resemble mohair.
Here’s a teaser photo of what I just picked up today. I hope to share more soon when I have a few projects completed.