Spinning Wensleydale

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia: The Wensleydale is a British breed of domestic sheep. It is named for the Wensleydale region of North Yorkshire, in the north of England, where it was bred in the early nineteenth century by cross-breeding a Dishley Leicester ram with local long-woolled sheep of a breed that is now extinct. It has a blue-grey face and long purled wool, and is among the heaviest of British sheep breeds.  It is an endangered breed, and is categorised as “at risk” by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.  It is often used as a ram breed to cross with other breeds to obtain market lambs, and for its high-quality wool.

I received 19g of Wensleydale carded batt from Benridge Woolworks.

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The batt looks crimpy, but is really soft.  The fibers are a little wiry, like hair.  At £10 for a 100g batt, it is almost 3x the amount of Wensleydale roving from World of Wool.  According to WOW, Wensleydale has a micron count of 30-40 and is generally blended with finer and shorter wools to give them stability.

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This is what the batt looked like when I opened it up.  There was not much of a smell and very little VM.  I was surprised how dark the fiber was as I was used to seeing Wensleydale as natural white locks.  I wrote a blog post about using them.  I spun them straight from the batt as I wanted to see how it spins on its own.  It was actually a nice spin.

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The skein feels hand soft, but not as soft as BFL, so I wouldn’t be wearing this one next to the skin.  The yarn is very strong and would be good for warp.  One of the ladies on FB mentioned that this type of wool was generally used for knitting outer garments, but I still would not be able to wear this unless I had a few layers underneath and a turtleneck.   As with the Teeswater, I will be ordering some from WOW at their next sale to spin as a comparison.  I don’t have much of this as I only received 19g of it.  I will need to think about how I will use it.

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