Thursday, 31 July 2014

Fibre of the Month JULY - Swaledale

A little later than anticipated.. I'm just in time for July!  I had a request a little while back to look at Swaledale.. so here we go :)

websearch photo from
A medium sized, hardy breed of sheep which thrives in hilly and mountainous regions.  Gets it's name from the Swaledale Valley in the Yorkshire Dales.

Just look at that face! Adorable
websearch photo from World of Cumbria Carpets
Kept for their wool and meat.  Swaledale produce an off-white wool which is very hardwearing and often used for carpets and rugs.  Staple length ranges between 10cm - 20cm, and micron count is 35 to 45.

My Swaledale came from World of Wool and is a lovely light grey.. much lighter than I had expected, with a staple length of 16cm.

oops made a mistake embroidering the measurement here!

Layed out the same as previous samples (20cm x 20cm) with three layers of fibre and felted to achieve maximum shrinkage.

Feels quite a coarse fibre.  It's fairly lofty when you lay the fibre down.. best to wet between layers to help avoid it spreading.  Felted fairly quickly.. I found it easiest to work fairly soapy, more so than usual but I often find that with coarser fibre.  Made a lovely, strong, thick felt that although you can feel it is strong and firm it's actually soft, slightly fuzzy and very pleasant to touch.

Finished sample size: 13.8cm x 16cm
Weight: 22.2
Shrinkage: 32% x 20%

Nice fibre for felting projects that need to be hardwearing.  I have only found it available in the natural light grey, which I think is really lovely for a natural, even slightly rustic look.  One of my friends dyes this light grey wool and achieves absolutely gorgeous colours!

Next time: Swaledale project

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