Wool is the dense curly or wavy hair that makes up the coat of a sheep. It is a natural sustainable fibre with a vast range of applications. It can in many instances be simply processed and utilised by the hobbyist for hand knitting or the weaving of cloth, bed sheets and rugs among others.
Pure sheep wool is:
- Annually renewable
- Insulating yet breathable making it suitable for clothing.
- Adaptable to the environment and wearer.
- Hardwearing and long lasting
- Flame retardant
- Shock absorbent
- Slip free, soft and safe.
- Retains dye well
- Versatile. Depending on the breed it can be used for high quality and practical clothing and interior furnishings or for hard wearing carpets or out of sight purposes such as insulation or sound proofing.
Why keep British sheep breeds for wool?
- Nearly sixty British sheep breeds exist and each has its own uses and wool qualities. Wool fineness, handle and staple length vary greatly meaning there is wool suitable for a wide spectrum of uses.
- Hill and mountain breeds often have very hardwearing wool brought about by the harsh exposed environments they live in. Such wool is ideal for carpet production.
- Long heavy fleeces weighing as much as 9kg in weight can be found on several long wool breeds.
- Down land breeds generally have the finest and highest quality wools, befitting the greater care and kinder environment they are used to.
- Coloured sheep which includes the hardiest and most independent primitive breeds also have very fine wool suited to niche products and domestic hand spinning and knitting.
- The great variety of shades found in British wools mean that wools can be used naturally without dye.
- Wools of differing qualities can be blended to achieve a desired feel or effect.
- Sheep wool of high quality can be harvested as a useful by-product of breeds that are primarily utilised for the production of prime lamb.
- Sheep farming and wool production has been an important part of British farming for centuries. This has led to the creation of sheep breeds suited to each unique environment of Great Britain, meaning that useful wool can be produced naturally and easily wherever you are.
- The promotion and sale of British wool is led by the British Wool Marketing Board, who adheres to the highest standards ensuring the prominence of British wool in the international community.