BREEDSPECIFIC WOOL TEXEL - AIRY, SEMI-LUSTROUS, DURABLE
Texel sheep originate from the Dutch island of the same name. They are the native breed of the region, crossed with Lincoln and Leicester sheep, and sometimes even Wensleydale or Romney, in the 19th century. Texel is a meat breed, which means that the sheep have a larger body frame and occasionally appear as elongated blocks or barrels covered in wool :-) Rams can reach an impressive weight of up to 90-100 kg.
Typically for meat breeds, the wool of Texel sheep has long been considered secondary. However, every type of wool has its place in the concept of breed-specific wool, so let's take a closer look at the specific characteristics of Texel wool to determine its best uses.
Characteristics of Texel wool:
In general, Texel wool has a fibre diameter between 26-33 microns, which falls well within the medium range meat-breeds wool. It is not the finest, but far from being coarse and rough. The staple length of the wool is around 7-15 cm.
The majority of Texel sheep is white, but there are exceptional gray and dark gray variaties as well (especially in Britain, unfortunately :-D). Their fleece tends to be more matte than lustrous, very airy, fluffy, and elastic. Thanks to its "springiness," it retains heat exceptionally well. Therefore, it is ideal for outerwear garments such as sweaters, gloves, or socks. If your skin is sensitive, however, you can always use it for household textiles such as chair pads, cushions, rugs, or blankets.
Textiles made from Texel wool will last for a long time because, by nature, Texel is not prone to significant abrasion or pilling.
However, the current batch we have in our shop exhibits more lustrous longwool genes. Since all the aforementioned breeds, that contributed to Texel breed, have beautiful long, lustrous curls, it's no wonder that our current combed top is slightly longer and shinier than the typical Texel. This means that it falls towards the finer end of the scale (our "touch" estimation is around 28 microns). It will also absorb dye beautifully and enhance it with its natural subtle sheen. However, when dyeing the fleece, caution is advised as the fibers are as airy as fluffy clouds :-)
Similar to Suffolk, Texel wool is not prone to felting. We have an archived sample that underwent machine washing at 95 degrees Celsius together with a sample of Romney Marsh Kent wool. While the Kent sample would never recover from such treatment, the Texel sample could easily be frogged again. Our batch is slightly finer, so we wouldn't risk washing it at 95 degrees Celsius, but there is a good chance that your handknitted socks would survive your washing machine without significant damage.