This week I want to talk about shetland wool. I thought it would be similar to most of the other wools I have talked about. However I found it very interesting as shetland wool has more to it then I first imagined.
Onto the sheep: The origin of Shetland sheep are the Shetland Isles but now they are bred and kept in many portions of the world. They are short-tailed, landrace sheep. They are small hardy breed that are adaptable and able to thrive in poor conditions. Shetlands have retained many of the primitive characteristics which makes them an easy to care for breed.(info from Wikipedia)
The wool produced has been a valuable commodity, I remember reading in a few places about the fine shetland shawls that could be pulled thru a wedding ring. Amazing knitting if you ask me. I also found that many tweeds are produced by from coarser shetland wools. Of course the Isles are famous for their multicolor knitwear using fair isle knitting.
The sheep themselves are a small breed with rams weighting in between 90 - 125 pds and ewes coming in between 75-100 pds. They are small bodied with no wool on the face, nose or legs. Rams usually have horns and ewes are polled. Shetlands have a variety of colors and patterns, many of which are named. Most of this lovely information came from NASSA ( North American Shetland Sheepbreeders Association). Next time I will go into the types of shetland fleeces the super fascinating part of shetlands IMHO.