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8 Weeks of Sheep Breed Spinning and Dyeing – Icelandic Wool

I will be embarking on a new and exciting adventure spinning and dyeing my way through eight weeks of eight different sheep breeds. Join me on this exciting quest while I review how each fiber behaves when spun and dyed. This week I am reviewing Icelandic sheep wool in a natural brown and grey color. Click here to see our  Icelandic roving I used.


About Icelandic Sheep

The Icelandic Sheep are a medium sized, either polled or horned sheep breed brought to Iceland by original settlers. It is a very cold hardy breed with a double coat meaning it has a harsh outer layer and a soft down layer underneath. The outer layer is a medium wool and has a long staple of about eight to ten inches with a micron count of around 27. The soft inner coat has a staple length of three to four inches with a 20-21 micron count. They have naked faces and legs so they only growing wool on their bodies in a variety of natural colors including browns, blacks, greys, whites and all mixes in between.

Spinning Icelandic Sheep Wool

To my surprise, the roving spun fairly consistently and felt like there was a bit on lanolin left in the roving. It wasn’t greasy at all. In fact there is a nice, soft layer of lanolin that really felt pleasant and was a nice unexpected feature because I didn’t have to lotion my hands like I usually do when spinning. This wool spun up, was quite a bit softer than expected and turned out to be fairly squishy. I found this wool to be very easy to spin and the staple length of the outer coat made it easy to draft out. I feel this wool would be perfect for advanced beginners to experienced spinners.

Dyeing Icelandic Sheep Wool

I dyed the grey roving so I was expecting a heathered look and that’s exactly what I got. I kettle dyed the roving after soaking it in a mordant/water solution for about twenty minutes. The dye took really well and I was fairly pleased with the end product. Next time I will try the microwave method. Click here to watch the microwave method for dyeing roving.

I certainly hope you give this wool a try. It was so fun to work with. We would love to see what you create with this roving posted to our Facebook page. Check out next week’s post on our 64 count merino roving.

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