SUFFOLK BREED SPECIFIC WOOL - FLEXIBLE, BREATHABLE, DURABLE
Suffolk is originally an English breed of sheep, from the lowlands (one of the so-called "down breeds"), world-wide spread and adaptable, already bred in Slovakia quite commonly. It belongs among the meat breeds, therefore its wool has long been overlooked as a by-product. This is a shame, of course, because this fiber (like everything) has its specific advantages.
Characteristics of the Suffolk wool
Typical for its density, flexibility and flexibility, durability and versatility, it is much more durable than fine wool (such as merino). Yet, compared to coarse wool (such as wallachian) it is much softer.
- The fineness (micron) range of suffolk wool varies according to the professional literature (and our experience with manual processing of different types of breedspecific wool) between 25-33mic. This means it belongs to the "golden middle" among the wool types, which are not really coarse, but at the same time much more durable than the finer ones.
- It has a decent number of crimp, so it is pleasantly flexible, plump and warm after setting handspun yarn.
- Suffolk wool is rather matte, without lustre. When dyed, it catches beautiful deep colors, whether you dye with natural or acid dyes, but it does not have the silky shine od longwools (typical for this type of elastic wool).
- The staple length of the suffolk fibre is 5-9 cm, which is e.g. optimal length for manual wool processing. It is not too short to come apart while spinning (the exception is, of course, always lamb's wool), but it is not too long to draft. The locks are square and dense, and thanks to their elasticity, they are relatively easy to clean from vegetable matter - dirt falls out easily when combed and spun.
Suffolk is therefore one of those types of wools, which, despite the general opinion, are excellent for both manual and machine processing or garment production. It also works great for colorwourk knitting patterns, for example, because it has a shorter hair and a "sticky" structure of the curls, which "fits" well in the pattern.
Very sensitive skin types will probably not tolerate it next to skin, but an average sensitive person should have no problem at all with a suffolk sweater, hat, gloves or socks. Anyway, we need to get used again to the wonderful "crunchiness" of the wool, which is its natural characteristic. This will reward you not only with warmth and healthy thermoregulation for the skin, but also with much higher durability, less pilling or abrasion.
Souffolks have black faces and legs. Wool is always white (except for intentionally bred exceptions), but it was often considered inferior if black hair from other parts of the body was mixed into it during shearing or processing. We like them though :-D and they are almost invisible in the final yarn or product (the proof is also our yarn ONA (SHE), VZDUCH (AIR), ZEM (EARTH), unspun roving OBLAK (CLOUD) or suffolk combed top). However, if there is ever too much of it, it can be handpicked or dyed over.
- WARNING: if you are looking for wool for felting, Suffolk will not be ideal. Many meat breeds produce wool that is relatively resistant to felting. We had it tested with crafty felting hands and yes, you can felt it and it holds well - both form and color. However, compared to fine merino, which is more agile to felting, you will have to try a lot more :-)
On the other hand, this is good news for all sock knitters, because with a suffolk you don't have to worry that a sock, spun and knitted from this wool, has wandered into the washing machine. Of course, we do not recommend throwing it at a high temperature, always test a sample first in your own washing machine and watch how it behaves, whether it felts substantially or not, resp. how much. In general, however, this type of wool is much less prone to felting than fine types of wool.
We believe that the suffolk breedspecific wool will serve you perfectly for a wide range of projects - of course we want to see everything that you make of it, so do not hesitate to send us photos and write :)
• We write more about wool maintenance HERE.
• We write more about the properties of sheep wool HERE.