About Ryeland sheep their fleece and where ours comes from.

Ryeland and Coloured Ryeland sheep are traditional native British breeds. See more about the breed here. The fleece from Ryeland sheep is fine, soft and fluffy and much sought after by hand spinners. Yarn made with this wool is very springy with good elasticity. The individual fibres have much crimp which once spun and set into yarn creates many little pockets of air which in turn makes the yarn warm and cosy to wear. Textured stitches and cables hold their shape particularly well with this yarn. Some examples can be seen in the gallery

The average fleece characteristics are:

Staple length - 7.5-10cm (3-4inches)

Fibre diameters - 27-30microns

Lock structure - dense blocky staples with abundant fine crimp

Natural colours - Ryelands produce creamy white fleece. Coloured Ryelands can produce a solid colour or many variations in one fleece from the lightest grey to the darkest grey or mid to dark brown. Often sun-bleached tips add more character to the many colours. The often varying colours in a fleece add a subtle heathered look to the hand-spun yarn.

Uses for this fleece:
Hand spinning - woollen style spinning creates a light, lofty and elastic yarn. Worsted style spinning creates a smoother compacted yarn.

Dyeing - the fleece/yarn dyes well with a matte finish.

Felting - the fleece needle-felts easily. It does not easily wet-felt on its own but will wet- felt if mixed with fibre that does.

 

The hand- spun Ryeland yarn TurnAcre produces is from Bouldacre and Roseacre Coloured Ryeland flocks unless stated otherwise on the yarn label. This means that the hand- spun is often born and  always reared, sheared, processed and spun in the idyllic Yorkshire countryside of the Calder Valley near to Halifax. This also means that the natural shades are dependent on individual and limited fleeces which can change annually.

As well as fleece from our two flocks we have also purchased fleece from other small British breeders and/or keepers of Ryelands and Coloured Ryelands, who have in the past used their fleeces as garden mulch or added it to the compost  heap. These fleeces are hand skirted and sorted to ensure that only the best quality fleece is sent to the mill where it is scoured, carded and spun into woollen-spun TurnAcre Aran-weight yarn.

All these other British breeders and keepers rear their flocks to the same high standard as we do. Many are friends from the show grounds where they have achieved high- ranking positions within the Ryeland, Coloured Ryeland or Native Breeds classes. The yarn label will show a batch number which can be matched to the information below to identify the breeders/keepers of your yarn.

BR - Bouldacre Ryeland Flock - Halifax - West Yorkshire

RCR - Roseacre Coloured Ryeland Flock - Halifax - West Yorkshire

BRRCR Bouldacre Ryeland and Roseacre Coloured Ryeland Flocks - Halifax - West Yorkshire

110 - White

Bouldacre Ryeland Flock -Halifax - West Yorkshire

Ebor Ryeland Flock - York - North Yorkshire

Holtby Ryeland Flock - York - North Yorkshire

210 - Light Grey

Roseacre Coloured Ryeland Flock - Halifax - West Yorkshire

Winnowing Coloured Ryeland Flock – Darwen - Lancashire

Shadowland Coloured Ryeland Flock - Rayleigh - Essex

Old Rectory Coloured Ryeland Flock - Woodham Walter - Essex

New Woods Coloured Ryeland Flock - Goldhanger - Essex

Stapleford Coloured Ryeland Flock - Stapleford Abbott - Essex

Crosswell Coloured Ryeland Flock - Ripponden - West Yorkshire

310 - Mid grey/brown

Roseacre Coloured Ryeland Flock - Halifax - West Yorkshire

Winnowing Coloured Ryeland Flock – Darwen - Lancashire

Shadowland Coloured Ryeland Flock - Rayleigh - Essex

Old Rectory Coloured Ryeland Flock - Woodham Walter - Essex

New Woods Coloured Ryeland Flock - Goldhanger - Essex

Stapleford Coloured Ryeland Flock - Stapleford Abbott - Essex

Crosswell Coloured Ryeland Flock - Ripponden - West Yorkshire

 

410 - Dark Brown

Roseacre Coloured Ryeland Flock - Halifax - West Yorkshire

Winnowing Coloured Ryeland Flock – Darwen - Lancashire

Shadowland Coloured Ryeland Flock - Rayleigh - Essex

Old Rectory Coloured Ryeland Flock - Woodham Walter - Essex

New Woods Coloured Ryeland Flock - Goldhanger - Essex

Stapleford Coloured Ryeland Flock - Stapleford Abbott - Essex

Crosswell Coloured Ryeland Flock - Ripponden - West Yorkshire

 

If you are a Ryeland and/or Coloured Ryeland Breeder or keeper and would like to be involved through your fleece please get in touch.

 

Some waste fleece was donated to Incredible Edible Todmorden for use in their community projects. They have written an informative blog post describing how they used our waste fleece.

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