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Map from The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, by Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius.

When I first started knitting, back in 2011-12, my friend Kathleen, my knitting mentor at the time, encouraged me to experiment with different fibres and introduced me to the notion of breed-specific yarn. I had no idea at the time there were so many breeds of sheep and that the fleece from each breed could vary so much. Over the years, I have knit with cotton, linen, silk, yak, alpaca, and yarn from merino, BFL, Wensleydale, Shetland, Icelandic, and a few other breeds. I wanted to learn a lot more so when Louise Scollay from Knit British announced her Wool Exploration project for 2018 I knew I simply had to join. The idea is that each month of 2018 will be dedicated to one sheep breed and participants will source any yarn from that breed and knit or crochet any pattern in a big swatch to explore the properties of that sheep’s wool. The first four months are:

  • January – North Ronaldsay
  • February – Gotland
  • March – Ryeland
  • April – Jacob

My plan is to knit at least two swatches for each yarn: one in a tight gauge to see if it would be good for a garment, perhaps with a cable and plain stockinette section, and another at a looser gauge with some lace to see how it behaves for shawls. I’ll create a page for the project to organize a table of contents for all the posts and then write two posts each month: one about the sheep and one with a review of the yarn. I am very excited about it!