Homegrown Ryeland / Shetland Sliver - Natural Grey, 100g
100g of natural pale grey coloured wool sliver from our own flock of Ryeland and Ryeland x Shetland Sheep. Most of the wool in the blend is from our purebred Ryeland ewes and wethers, while some of it is from our lovely 3/4 Ryeland 1/4 Shetland sheep. The crossbreds add a little softness and length to the Ryeland wool which is crimpy and full of natural bounce.
The wool has been machine carded and pulled into sliver by our friends at the Halifax Mill . They've done a wonderful job on it, the fibre is beautifully carded, nep-free and lofty.
Sliver is made from carded fibre, so this preparation is perfect for longdraw spinning, although it will spin up beautifully from a worsted draw too. Ryeland wool makes a super bouncy yarn with great elasticity and little tendency to felt.
We keep our sheep outdoors, as naturally as possible. We're not organic, but the flock has minimal chemical inputs. They're fed primarily on meadow grass and our own farm-made hay. I know each of our 50 sheep by name and they're very much loved and respected. We keep them principally for their wool and for the wonderful job they do of maintaining our commercial hay meadows during the winter, and very occasionally for their meat. We don't raise lambs every year, preferring instead to raise our lambs until 4-5 years old before we decide whether to keep them as breeding stock, or as wool producers, or whether they're one of the few that goes to the local butcher. I really dislike having to make that decision, but everything else is part of the joy of shepherding - even the late night lambings and the emergency summer treatments for fly strike!
You'll find a little vegetable matter (VM) in the sliver, as my sheep enjoy their winter hay and the mill washes the fleeces gently so VM isn't always stripped out. It drops out easily during spinning. Since the fibre's been gently washed, there's some residual lanoliin in the wool, which results in a smooth spinning experience, the lanolin's easy to wash out after spinning.
This sliver is a natural pale grey colour, from the white Ryeland ewes in our flock. We have plenty of this available, so we've put it up in 100g lots. It would make a wonderful background colour for a knitted colourwork project. We also have a cream, and twin-packs of both colours, please see our other listings for these.