It’s raining here. That is good for the garden (garlic mostly planted and fall greens and broccoli are overflowing) and especially good because I hope it can decide to stay dry for the weekend. Falls Church…I am coming!
We thought it would be fun to feature a different breed each week and
at the farmers markets, give a 5% discount on that yarn
Breed of the week: Dorset and Horned Dorset
Dorset is breed you have probably seen from a car window. The polled variety (polled means they don’t have horns) is the second most popular breed of sheep in the US. They are raised primarily for meat. These pregnant ewes are from Mill Creek Farm in Lovettsville, Virginia, the farm I buy hay from, and some of their fleeces are in our yarn. Dorsets have white faces and don’t have little black fibers in their wool like Suffolk sheep (I haven’t looked, but guess Suffolk is the most popular breed in the US).
We also bought Horned Dorset fleeces. The horned sheep are declining in numbers and The Livestock Conservancy has made them a conservation priority. Sue is our wool buyer and I only go along sometimes. But, I met the couple who raises the Horned Dorset at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. I hope to visit their farm this year.
Down type wool
Dorset, and most meat breeds of sheep grow wool that is really great for socks. The fleece is relatively fine, but what is unique is it’s incredible spring and cushion. It has crimp in several directions at the same time, back and forth and spiral. You can’t keep this wool down! (hmmm, is that how it got the name Down type? Nah, probably from the English Downs) anyway, it is like springs under your feet. You aren’t likely to see it in commercial sock yarns, but give our Dorset sock a try and see how great it feels.
With holiday travel approaching, you might want to think about a good portable project. Socks are great for travel knitting, even in a cramped air plane seat.
Hope to see you at the markets this week…or connect with you via a web order!
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This is the season for woolen: warm, insulating yarns that are light in weight and cozy. But...you ask, what makes a yarn woolen? The short answer is woolen yarns are spun with fibers opened up, but going all which ways to trap air inside the yarn. They are lighter in weight, but warmer than worsted spun yarns. They tend to hold a shape, are not "hard wearing" and they can pill... but they are great for hats, blankets...sweaters, warm woolen mittens and other of my favorite things.
If you want a bit of a longer explanation...read on.