Family Owned and Operated Custom Fiber Mill

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Sheep Fill A Unique Need Today, Just As They Have For Thousands Of Years. In Today’s Day and Age, We Have Many Fibers to choose from. Knowing About The Breeds Of Sheep May Help You Decide If Particular Wool Would Be Best Used For A Carpet, Woven Into Suit Fabric Or Knit Up Into A Cozy Woolen Sweater. Being that there over 200 distinct breeds of sheep, you have a lot of choices!

fleece on earth

Please Note: In All the Years We Have Been Processing Fibers, We see A "General Rule Of Thumb", When It Comes to Fineness in each breed of sheep. Understand with every rule you will find Exceptions. A hand spinners flock brings a different and in our opinion, an optimum fiber result. We Process Many Of The Fleeces The Industry Deems As Meat Sheep. It Is A Matter For Each Person To Consider.

We Usually Suggest To Our New Fiber Friends, To "Wear" The Fiber You Are Considering. Put a piece of washed fiber where you are thinking of “wearing the finished item. For example, if you plan to make a pair of socks, put the lock in your show. If you want to make a scarf that you will wrap around your neck, place the fiber near your neck, with women we say tuck it in your bra strap, and see if you can feel the lock. You May Find A Particular Fiber Wonderful For Socks, But Not For Wearing To The Skin. Within Our Own Family One Person May Be Able to Wear a Sweater made from a particular Sheep's Fiber That the Next Family Member Finds a Bit Scratchy.

felting sketch by spinderellas

We Encourage You To Do Investigate The World Of Fibers You Have Available To Ewe. You May Find A Favorite That You Stay With Year After Year, Or You May Enjoy The Variety Of Animal Fibers That Make Wonderful Usable Items.

We have included a breed website under each sheep for further reading.
Another great place to read about Sheep as well as other Animals is
Oklahoma State University

Breeds we often process: 

Hover over the sheep photo to read a little more about the breed.
Romney

Romney were developed in England's Romney Marsh region to withstand cold and wet conditions. They are a medium-sized, white-faced breed producing a coarse, long-stapled fleece that is well loved by handspinners.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 32-39
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT 10-18 lb - WASHING YIELD 55-70%
•STAPLE LENGTH 5-8"

More on Romney Sheep

Blue Face Leicester

The blue coloring on their heads is covered with a fine white hair. Their fleece is classified as a long wool but is also used to produce high quality luster yarns with drape. The wool is tightly purled, semi-lustrous and opening cleanly to the skin.  
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 24-28
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 2.5 - 4.5 lb. - WASHING YIELD 75-80%
•STAPLE LENGTH 5-6"

More on Blue Face Leicester Sheep

Border Leicester

Border Leicester originated in England from Leicester x Cheviot crosses. They are medium to large with a white face and bare head and legs. Border Leicesters yield a long-stapled, lustrous wool, sought after buy handspinners.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 30-38
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 8-12 lb - WASHING YIELD 60-70%
•STAPLE LENGTH 5-10 "les.

More on Border Leicester Sheep


Cotswold

Originating in the hills of Gloucestershire, England is one of the oldest breeds known to us. White faced with a characteristic lock of wool on the forehead. They are noted for their long, strong, lustrous natural wavy curls.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 33-40
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 12-15 lb - WASHING YIELD 60%
•STAPLE LENGTH 6 -15" 

More on Cotswold Sheep


Wensleydale

Wensleydale is from the United Kingdom has recently been established in the U.S. It is a very blue faced, large long-wool sheep producing long lusterous fleece.

•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 33-34
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 16-20 lb
•STAPLE LENGTH 10-12” - though many are sheared twice a year.

More on Wensleydale Sheep


Lincoln

Lincoln originated in England and imported to the U.S. in 1825. They have a bluish-white face,  producing a heavy fleece that is very coarse, highly crimped, long and lustrous and loved by weavers and handspinners.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 34-41
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 12-16 lb - WASHING YIELD 55-70%
•STAPLE LENGTH 8-15" - though many are sheared twice a year.
More on Lincoln Sheep


Coopworth

Coopworth originated in New Zealand in the 1960's from Border Leicester x Romney crosses and was first imported into the U.S. in the late 1970's. The wool is relatively coarse and has a long staple length.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 30-36
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 12-18 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-65%
•STAPLE LENGTH 5-8"

More on Coopworth Sheep


Perendale

Perendale originated in New Zealand from crossing the Border Cheviot with the Romney breed. They produce bright, lofty, long-stapled, medium-wool fleeces.

•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 29-35
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 8 lb - WASHING YIELD 60-70%
•STAPLE LENGTH 4-6"

More on Perendale Sheep


Cheviot

The Cheviot originated in the hill country that borders Scotland and England and was imported into the U.S. in 1838. They are a small-sized sheep with a white face and bare head and legs. They produce a high-yielding medium wool.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 27-33
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 5-8 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-65%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2 1/2 - 4"

More on Cheviot Sheep


Columbia

The Columbia is one of the first breeds of sheep developed in the United States, from Lincoln x Rambouillet crosses. They are  one of the larger-sized breeds in the U.S.  and yields a heavy, medium-wool fleeces with good staple length.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 23-29
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT   12-16 lb  WASHING YIELD 45-55%
•STAPLE LENGTH 4-6"
More on Columbia Sheep


Corriedale

Corriedales originated in New Zealand from Lincoln/Leicester x Merino crosses and was imported into the U.S. in 1914. They are a medium-sized, white-faced sheep and yield heavy, medium-wool fleeces with good staple length and luster
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 23-31
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 10-15 lb  WASHING YIELD 50-60%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3 1/2 - 6"
More on Corriedale Sheep


Clun Forest

Clun Forest originated in England and is of medium size. They are brown/black-faced with no wool on the face and legs and produce a medium-wool fleece. A tight fleece, fine texture, free from kemp and dark or gray wool. 

•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 28-33
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 5-9 lb

More on Clun Forest Sheep


CVM/Romeldale

Originated from the all-white Romeldale breed. The CVM is a product of recessive color pattern genes. They have a badger face a wool colored cream, dark gray or silver and the belly, britch and neck a darker color. It is a high-yielding, long-stapled uniform fleece.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 22-25
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 6-12 lb - WASHING YIELD 60%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3-5”
More on CVM Sheep


Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast is one of the oldest types of sheep in the United States and has existed in the southern regions for several centuries. Their origin in unknown. They have white to brown color with fleeces that are lightweight and medium-grade fleeces.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 26-32
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 4-6 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-65%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2 1/2 -4"
More on Gulf Coast Sheep


Jacob

Jacob although of unknown origin, has been raised for over 350 years in England. Some say they were ther sheep that Jacob of the Bible rasied. They produce a medium-grade wool with some kempy fibers.

•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 27-35
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT 3-6 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-65%
•STAPLE LENGTH 4-7"

More on Jacob Sheep


Cormo

Cormo originated in Tasmania, Australia  and was introduced into the U.S. in 1976. They produce a white, long stapled, high yielding fine-wool fleece with a high degree of fiber uniformity.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 17-23
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 5-8 lb - WASHING YIELD 45-55%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2 1/2 - 4"

More on Cormo Sheep


Merino

Merino were developed from the Spanish Merino and has an unbroken line of breeding for more than 1,200 years. Modern Merinos have wool extending down the legs. They are hardy and are long lived. They produce very high-quality, fine-wool fleeces.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 17-22
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 9-14 lb - WASHING YIELD 45-54%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2 1/2 - 4"

More on Merino Sheep


Rambouillet

Rambouilette were developed from the Spanish Merino in France and Germany and is the foundation of most Western U.S. range flocks. The Rambouillet is the largest of the fine-wool breeds, and is also long lived.
AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 19-24
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 10-15 lb - WASHING YIELD 45-55%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2 1/2 - 4"

More on Rambouilette Sheep


Targhee

Targhee were developed in 1926 at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho. Targhee produce medium-wool fleece with good staple length.

*AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 21-25
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT 10-14 lb - WASHING YIELD 45-55%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3-5"

More on Targhee Sheep


Polypay

Polypay was developed in the 1970's at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station at Dubois, Idaho, and also Nicholas Farms at Sonoma, California.  Due to the recent formation of this breed fleece traits are quite variable.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 24-31
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 7-10 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-60%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3-5"

More on Polypay Sheep


Finnish Landrace

Finn sheep originated in Finland and were imported to Canada and the U.S. in 1960's.  Their wool is mainly white, but you may find them in colors.
*AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 24-31
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 4-8 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-70%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3-6"


More on Finn Sheep


Shetland

The Shetland is the smallest of the British breeds and it retains many of the characteristics of wild sheep. They come in one of the widest ranges of colors of any breed. They come in 11 colors with 30 markings. Some being very rare.

*AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 20-25
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT  2-4 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-70%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2-4.5"
More on Shetland Sheep


Icelandic

Icelandic originated in Iceland. The Icelandic has historically been a meat breed, but is also a noted source of wool for lopi yarn. Fleece colors can be white, tan, brown, gray or black.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
MICRONS UNDERCOAT 19-22
OUTERCOAT 27-30
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT 4-5 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-65%
•STAPLE LENGTH UNDERCOAT 3" OUTERCOAT 18"
More on Icelandic Sheep


Navajo Churro

They are descended from the Churra, an ancient Iberian breed. Prized by the Spanish,  they were the very first breed of domesticated sheep in the New World. NativeAmericans acquired flocks for food and fiber through raids and trading.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
MICRONS UNDERCOAT 10-35 
OUTERCOAT 35+
WASHING YIELD 35%
•STAPLE LENGTH UNDERCOAT 3-5" OUTERCOAT 6-12"
More on Churro Sheep


Karakul

Karakul are native to the deserts of Central Asia and is one of the world's oldest breeds. Fleece colors come in black, silver, blue, gray, tan, reddish brown and white. Karakuls produce a long-stapled, light-weight, often double-coated fleece with excellent felting qualities.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 25-36
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 5-10 lb - WASHING YIELD - 80-85%
•STAPLE LENGTH 6-12"
More on Karakul Sheep


Dorset

Originated in Southern England, imported into the U.S. in 1885. Dorset's are medium-sized, white-faced, produce medium-wool fleeces free of black fibers and have wool extending down the legs. They are commonly used in crossbreeding.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 26-32
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 5-8 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-65%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3-4 1/2"
More on Dorset Sheep


Tunis

Tunisoriginated from Tunisia in North Africa and was imported into the U.S. in 1799. The breed was popular in the South until almost eliminated during the Civil War. They are a medium-sized with a red or tan face and legs, and produce a medium-wool fleece.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 26-31
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 8-12 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-65%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3-4 "
More on Tunis Sheep


Texel

Texel have been bred in the Netherlands for over 160 years and were first available to U.S. sheep producers in 1990. Texel's are medium-sized sheep with a white face with no wool on the head and legs and produce a medium-wool fleece.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 28-33
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 7-10 lb - WASHING YIELD 60-70%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3-4"

More on Texel Sheep


Suffolk

Suffolk originated in England from Southdown x Norfolk crosses and imported into the U.S. in 1888. This is the largest-sized breed in the U.S. They have a bare and black head and legs, and produced a medium-grade fleece.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 26-33
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 4-8 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-60%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 "

More on Suffolk Sheep


Hampshire

Hampshire'swere developed in the Hampshire country of Southern England. The breed is widely used in the U.S. as a source of terminal sires for commercial lamb production. They are large with wool caps, black faces and medium-wool fleeces.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 25-33
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 6-10 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-60%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2 1/2 - 4"

More on Hampshire Sheep


Southdown

It is one of the oldest sheep breeds, originating in England, imported into the U.S. in 1803. It is small to medium-sized with a light brown face, with medium wool fleece. The breed is very docile and possess excellent longevity.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 24-29
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 5-8 lb - WASHING YIELD 40-55%
•STAPLE LENGTH 2-3 "
More on Southdown Sheep


Shropshire

Shropshireoriginated in England from native sheep, Southdown, Leicester and Cotswold crosses. They were imported into the U.S. in 1855. Shropshire's are medium to large with a dark face and wool extending down the legs, with medium-grade wool.
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 25-33
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT Ewe 6-10 lb - WASHING YIELD 50-60%
•STAPLE LENGTH 3-4"
More on Shropshire Sheep


Valais Blacknose

Just plain CUTE!! They are mostly found in the mountains of Switzerland, there are a couple of breeders in Germany.
Known to be good for their meat as they are large animals, they are also well known for their wool, which is best used for felting matresses and carpets.  
•AVERAGE FIBER DIAMETER
Micron 38+
•GREASE FLEECE WEIGHT  ?
- WASHING YIELD ?
•STAPLE LENGTH 12"
More on Valais Blacknose Sheep

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