Spinning Humbug Icelandic

800px-Icelandic-Sheep-20030608Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia:  The Icelandic is the Icelandic breed of domestic sheep. It belongs to the Northern European Short-tailed group of sheep, and is larger than most breeds in that group. It is thought that it was introduced to Iceland by Vikings in the late ninth or early tenth century.  It is generally short-legged and stocky, slender and light-boned, and usually horned, although polled and polycerate animals can occur; there is a polled strain, the Kleifa. The fleece is double-coated and may be white or a variety of other colors; the face and legs are without wool. The sheep are highly resistant to cold, and are generally left unshorn for the winter. Icelandic ewes are highly prolific, with a lambing percentage of 175–220%. The Þoka (Thoka) gene is carried by some ewes, which may give birth to large litters of lambs. A unique strain within the population is the Leader sheep, which carries a hereditary ability or predisposition to lead other sheep safely over dangerous ground.   Until the 1940s the Icelandic sheep was the predominant milk-producing animal in Iceland. In the twenty-first century this sheep is reared principally for meat, which accounts for more than 80% of the total income derived from sheep farming.  The fleece is double-coated, with a long outer coat (tog) which gives protection from snow and rain, and a fine inner coat (þel) which insulates the animal against the cold. The wool of the outer coat has a diameter of about 28–40 microns or sometimes more, and a staple length of some 150–200 mm; the inner coat has a diameter of 19–22 μm or sometimes less, with a staple length in the range 50–100 mm. The two types may be used separately, or spun into a single yarn, lopi, a soft wool which provides good insulation.

Carrying on with wanting to spin different breeds, I added some Icelandic Humbug to my Black Friday order.  I knew that it would most likely be coarse, and it was. It must be the outer coat. It spun very well.  There is a nice mix of black, white and grey.

IMG_1683

It is too scratchy for a scarf, but as I have been saying about the scratchy yarns, they will work well in table runners and the like.  This is the last of the scratchy yarns I purchased.  As much as I found spinning the British and other breeds really interesting, I really need to stop buying fiber until I get full-time employment.  I still have so much merino and other bling fibers to spin and felt with.  I also spun a blend of merino and silk from my Black Friday haul.

IMG_1680It is so pretty and soft and squishy.  It made a nice change spinning this soft wool compared to the others I spun recently.  I also haven’t woven anything for awhile, so I shall be getting back to the loom.  Until then, happy crafting!

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