Saturday, October 16, 2010

My favorite sheep-Dorsets

The Romneys coming to see what I am doing

The following is possibly a lot more than you want to know about Dorset. But, read on. (o;
LOL. Human, you are funny!

'I am just a contended ewe'

Cornelius, w/2 Romneys and a show Dorset.

Hi there! Do you have something for me to eat?
If you can't tell from our pictures from previous posts, we love our Dorsets!! Both the polled and horned, but we are trying to concentrate on the horned. I absolutely love the easy mothering, the overall gentleness, and the fleeces that we get off our sheep. Personally, I prefer the looks of our production Dorsets that we bought from Fruitcake Farm in Grafton, NH. The show Dorsets are nice, give us good fleece and great lambs when bred to Cornelius, the production Dorset. They are just a lot taller and thinner than the production Dorsets.

I have spun some of our Horned Dorset roving and am pleased with the results. We have some available for sale now, and will have the adult for sale after the first of the year when it comes back from the processor. In the meantime, go to the fleece page and read my experience with this roving.
Fleeces and roving will be available on our fleece page soon. The staple length usually runs 2-4 1/2" and has a incredible crimp. (Merino-2 1/2-4", Corriedale-3 1/2-6") On the softness scale, we are just below a Merino and just above a Corriedale. Both of those breeds also have the same length staple. So, if you can spin either of those, you can spin Dorset. The biggest difference you get from a Dorset is the bounce . And they are great in socks as they are long wearing and they do not wet felt/shrink. But, they do needle-felt wonderfully!! 
Taken from-

About this particular fleece:

Dorset is a down breed of wool, and most of the down breeds I find great for needle felting. This wool is springy, usually has a short staple and is medium-fine with a tight crimp. It felts rapidly with needles and creates a fairly soft surface with no halo effect. Dorset is one of my most favorite wools, because it is an excellent fiber for needle felting either as a core fiber or as dyed cover wool.
DraigAthar's Etsy shop-

It is nice to hear that others like the Dorset for needlefelting!

Taken from 

'Horned Dorsets also produce a pure white, lightweight fleece, excellent for hand spinning, with ewes yielding 5 -7 pounds of wool per animal.  Grading quality is 56s/50s: short demi-lustre.'

Whereas our Romneys are also demi lustre but the micron is 30-37  and very soft to handle.

Demi-lustre Wool
Wool that has some luster but not enough to be classed as luster wool. Wool of this type is produced by the Romney and similar breeds. (But, Horned Dorsets are not the same as Romneys. Even though I love our Romneys as well.)  These sheep look a lot like our production sheep

And more things about wool than you may ever want to know. (The above came from this site)

Some websites about Dorsets- These sheep look like the show sheep that we bought 2 years ago These people also have sheep that look like ours, and they (like us) occasionally have stock for sale. If we do end up moving south, I will definitely be contacting them about adding more polled Dorsets to the farm. Here they tell you the difference between the true production Dorset and the show Dorset. The Australian version of our Horned Dorset.
And England-  I especially agree with this part-'The wool of both the Horn and Poll is of the highest quality, not only is it fine and densely grown but is particularly white which helps it find a ready market in times of plenty.'

Micron Count/Bradford Count-
                                      Micron         Bradford        Fineness
Corriedale                       26-33            58s-50s       Medium
Dorset Horn                    27-32            56s-50s       Medium       (Not that I necessarily agree with this)
Merino                            17-24            70s-60s          Fine A slightly different look at the counts and what they mean. She 'forgot' my Dorsets... Micron 26-32

  USDA Wool Grade 48’s-58’s                A huge spread in grade according to this site.

One of a few groups that we belong to-  This site is FULL of information.

Down Wools

These are short staple wools; therefore, they are not a good choice for beginning handspinners. The diameter size of down wools ranges from soft to medium. The soft fleeces are used for apparel like socks and fine fabrics. The medium range fleeces are suitable for knitted and woven outerwear, longwearing garments, and blankets.
  (Merino is also short stapled...)

Dorset, Cheviot, Shetland, Suffolk

• Fine to medium texture

• Spiral crimp

• Lofty, spongy, crisp

• 2 - 3 1/2 inches staple length

• Very resilient

• Difficult to spin for beginning handspinners

• Lacks luster, chalky

• Good shape retention

• Not well suited for felting (wet, but great for needlefelting)

• Wear resistant (makes excellent socks!)

• Spin medium-thick yarn  (I tend to spin fine and use ours in shawls & baby wear, as well as socks & sweaters)

• Blends well with long wool fiber, to add resilience 
(Just one person's opinion...not necessarily mine.)

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