canadian breed rovings, 50g
- Icelandic: The Icelandic sheep is a Northern European short tail breed, and was brought to Iceland by the Vikings during the middle ages. A hardy sheep with a variety of uses, the breed has a long history. Genetically, this breed is the same today as it was 1100 years ago, and is possibly the oldest and purest domesticated breed of sheep still existing today. Icelandic sheep are medium sized, low set and stocky. They produce a thick, light fleece in a variety of colours. While most have horns, there are several individuals who are naturally polled. This is a dual coated breed, with a coarse outer coat (tog), which can range up to 18 inches in length with little crimp. This outer coat is coarse and lustrous, and provides protection against wind, rain, and dust for the sheep. The softer undercoat (thel), is the coat that keep sthe sheep warm. Fine and with some crimp (sometimes as fine as 10 microns in diameter), it can be spun into a soft wool suitable for next to the skin wear. When spun together, the two coats produce a yarn similar to a mohair and wool blend, and provide the benefits of both coats.
- Rideau Arcott: This breed of sheep was created entirely in Canada, and was developed over a period of 15 years by Agriculture Canada at the experimental farm in Ottawa. The sheep is a combination of the Finnish Landrace, Suffolk, and East Friesian breeds. The staple length of the wool from this breed is 2-4”, and they have a usual micron count ranging between 28-36.
- Shetland (Black): This sheep breed comes from the Shetland Isles, in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. The Shetland developed over a thousand years to become a very hardy, self-reliant breed for this harsh climate. The fleece of this sheep is fine and soft, and comes in eleven natural colours. It has a staple length of 5 - 12 cm, and a micron count ranging between 20 and 25.
- Shetland (Grey): This sheep breed comes from the Shetland Isles, in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. The Shetland developed over a thousand years to become a very hardy, self-reliant breed for this harsh climate. The fleece of this sheep is fine and soft, and comes in eleven natural colours. It has a staple length of 5 - 12 cm, and a micron count ranging between 20 and 25.
- Corriedale: The Corriedale is a New Zealand breed, and a cross between Merino and longwool breeds like the Lincoln. They were imported into Canada and are a popular dual-purpose breed. Their fleece is bright and soft, with a staple length ranging between 8 and 13 cm.
- Ile de France: This breed was developed in the early 19th century, and was registered at the end of the same century. It is the dominant breed in France, and was first imported into Canada in 1995. They. are a hardy breed, and produce high quality wool. The fleece of this breed is fine and clean, with a staple length of 8-10 cm.
- Est a Laine: At the close of the 18th century, Merino sheep were bred with the German sheep in the borders of France, and gradually were kept in large flocks in Alsace Lorraine. This breed became known as the Est a Laine. This breed are a long-framed sheep with very fine, white wool. Their head is long, and they have droopy ears. They are naturally polled (they have no horns), unlike the original merino breed. They also have no folds or dewlap on their necks, which makes them easier to shear. The fleece of the Est a Laine is not quite so fine as merino, but has most of the same characteristics.
- South Down: This breed was developed in Sussex, England, during the late 16th century. It was exported to North America shortly after. While originally a small breed, selection has brought it back to a medium size. The fleece of this breed is dense and fine, and has a staple length of 4 to 5 cm.
- Targhee: The Targhee was developed at the Idaho experimental station in 1926 as a sheep for meat and fleece. The fleece of this sheep is excellent, a fine bright quality with a staple length of 7.5 - 11 cm.
- East Friesian: The East Friesian sheep originated in the Friesland area of Holland and Germany. It is a sheep with a high milk production, and has been used in crossbreeding to improve the milk yields of other breeds. In Canada, it was used to help develop the Rideau Arcott breed in this direction. The East Friesian yields a fine fleece, black or white in colour, with a staple length of 10-15 cm.
The breed of sheep that a fleece comes from can make a huge difference in the characteristics of yarn spun from it, or how it felts. We are delighted to offer the following selection of rovings from different Canadian sheep breeds for you to sample. All listed wool was produced entirely in Canada, from Canadian sheep.
Individual rovings are prepackaged in 50g increments, and the sampler packs are 250g in total (50g from each breed).
Images are taken from wool.ca, which is an excellent resource if you'd like to learn more about these or other sheep breeds!