About Shetland Sheep Fibre
Shetland Sheep wool comes in eleven natural colours, this creates very realistic tones for felting animals and reduces the need for wool dyeing. Their fibre grows 3-5” long and fleeces weigh around 3lb. Because the wool is one of the finest and softest of the UK breeds it felts very firmly (the wool fibres are closer together) and allows for high-quality detail work.
Alpaca wool is a great choice for adding a top coat or natural colour over your felting, or for silky manes/ hair. Alpaca fleeces are shorn once a year, weigh around 5lb and have a staple length of 3-5”
Some fibre is dyed by hand on our farm using minimal water and eco-friendly Greener-Shades organic dyes. However, hand-dyeing is not as consistent, so most of the colour choices are wool we import. This wool is commercially dyed from the UK & NZ using ecologically safe Oeko-Tex compliant dyes and biodegradable detergents.
About Corriedale Wool
The Corriedale in our shop is usually carded for felting and made into silvers/roving. Corriedale is a great all-purpose felting wool and gives a dense and consistently smooth finish. We use Combed Corriedale Top for our painting with wool selections, as is creates a lovely thin layer and felts evenly. If you want to use your top for felting 3D it’s often best to mess up the fibres a little, this offers a great opportunity to blend colours together by teasing tufts between your fingers.
Merino is often processed into combed top, which is a great choice for wet felting (which is why we use it for our tea-cozies and dryer balls). It can also be used as a final silky coat in needle felting.
About Wool Locks
Some sheep are known for having extra curl and lustre, on our farm we raise Blue-faced Leicester, and Gotland/Wensleydale crosses (who are hopefully expecting Valais Blacknose May 2021!). These fleeces are shorn once or twice a year with hand-shears (so the locks keep their structure). We also hand select and wash some of our shetland fleeces for locks.
We offer our Corriedale for core wool in natural grey or white. It creates a nice firm structure and doesn’t migrate through the project. Others have suggested using Merino, Targhee or Dorset as alternatives, but these wool types are a bit spongey and clumpy so in our experience don’t create the desirable dense, workable core.
There is also the question of batting verses roving, both will work well for felting but generally roving is slightly higher quality and is less bulky to store.