This wool was so fun to work with, I went from undyed wool to a two-ply finished yarn in less than two days. I simply could not put it down! Between the colors and the thick spun fiber, this was a really quick, fun project. I think I’m starting to appreciate and love working with the higher micron count wools. Although I’m not a felter myself, I think this roving would felt beautifully.
Wensleydale is a large English sheep breed with a long staple wool. They have a distinctive gray face and surrounding their ears and legs, they are covered with long, curly locks. The micron count is 33-35, so this is courser than merino but it has a wonderful staple length of 8-12 inches and a high luster. This breed is a cross between a Leicester and Teeswater so you can see where the long staple length comes from.
Dyeing Wensleydale Sheep Roving
Looking at my natural Wensleydale wool, I wondered how I would dye it and what colors I would use. If you read my Teeswater blog, you know that I am currently obsessed with barber pole plying, so I thought I would dye it with some bright summer colors to ply together, creating a really fun looking skein. I used a mix of Country Classics Dye and Procion MX dyes along with the microwave method to dye up this roving. The wool took the colors beautifully and was just so easy to work with.
Spinning Wensleydale Sheep Roving
The spinning process was so fast on this! It took me two and a half hours to spin and ply this yarn. It spun up to be thick and thin from a DK weight to a bulky weight. It really showed off the bright, fun colors of the dye. The long staple length made the spinning really enjoyable and the luster of the fiber made it easy to draft. After I spun this yarn up, I was encouraged by one of my lovely coworkers to knit up a simple shawl with no particular pattern which was the perfect, mindless knitting project I needed. The shawl turned out so squishy and eclectic.
I would love to work with this sheep breed again in the future. I feel this roving would be perfect for an adventurous beginner to an advanced spinner. If you have spun with Teeswater, Wensleydale is similar and just as easy to work with. I highly recommend you give this a try if you are looking for something different.