Maple Ridge Sheep Farm

Fleece Description Glossary

Downy: Typical of fleece from the Down breeds. Usually short, fine, soft and crimpy.

Silky: All of the properties of silk, a lustrous smoothness, but without the slipperiness of silk.

Buttery: Mostly lambs fleeces; a melding of downy and silky.

Dirty tips: Just that - usually washes right out; however may leave a stain on the lightest color fleeces. If you are dyeing the fleece this stain may not be noticed and it may add some heathery interest to lighter colors.

Early shedding: Many Shetlands shed their fleeces in the early spring. We try to time shearing to closely coincide with this natural break. Some shed earlier than others, in which case the natural break in the fleece occurred several weeks before shearing and may look like sheets of second cuts. Others shed later and the tips usually wear off during the summer pasture season. The short ends fall off readily when the wool is combed, picked or flick carded.

Dusty: Dust and some dirt particles that wash out readily.

Lightly matted: Not really matted but "clumped". When washed, they work up fine. No truly matted fleeces are on the list.

Double coated, or primitive: These are really interesting fleeces. Frequently there is little difference between the primary fibers (or outer coat) and secondary (or undercoat). In some, the difference is that of color; for example white and/or gray primary and black secondary, with little difference in texture. There are other fleeces with more pronounced texture differences. When spun, the yarn is soft. There are few that are coarse.

Chaff: Although we try to keep the fleeces clean, some of these little devils attract chaff and dirt like magnets. Some fleeces are listed with "some chaff" or "chaffy patches", with the prices discounted. We have others that are very chaffy, but work up well with processing. The fiber quality is good but they require more effort. If you are interested in trying any of these, let us know (they are not listed); there is a substantial discount.

We hope you will check out our rovings in natural Shetland and dyed colors, some blended with other fibers. Also available: 2-ply sport weight yarn in 7 natural and 5 dyed colors, quilt batts, machine washable sheepskins and our Shetland coverlet.

Please give us a call and explain your project - we would love to help you pick just the right fleece.

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