Also called “lustrous Longwools,” Longwool fibers are strong, hard wearing, can feel silky and have lots of drama and drape. The larger fiber diameter and length of the fibers make them easy to hand spin and they are only second to fine silk in how fantastically they take dye.
On the sheep: there is a significant range of both length (5 to 12 inches) and fiber diameter (24 to 41 microns) in this category from somewhat soft (Blue Faced Leicester, Romney and Coopworth) to very strong (Lincoln, Leicester Longwool, Wensleydale) which corresponds to amount of lustre and drape in the fiber. Longwools have luscious wavy, often “S” shaped crimp of only 1.5 to 4 crimps per inch. These wools have memory, but little bulk and not so much elasticity as crimpier fleece. Less consistent than Fine wools across the body of the sheep, the softest wool is on the shoulders and sides and coarser wool in the britch (back legs). Longwool breeds have a good range of natural colors from white, ivory, silvers and grays to dark charcoal black and dark browns.
Longwool breeds: Coopworth, Cotswold, Border Leicester, Leicester Longwool, Lincoln, Romney, Teeswater, Wensleydale
Choose Longwools for woven fabrics and furnishings including bags, upholstery and rugs. Finer types make excellent knitting wool for outerwear, sweaters, hats, mittens, throws and blankets. Also good for specialty yarns like boucles, embroidery thread and lace. Takes dye beautifully and locks are excellent for art yarns and also woven "fleece" rugs