WALLACHIAN BREED SPECIFIC WOOL - TRADITIONAL, LONG, STRONG
Wallachian is a breed of sheep, which together with the Tsigai breed has long been the most typical for our regions. However, there is Wallachian and Wallachian :-) We recognize two breeds that are officially registered in our country - the original Wallachian and the refined Wallachian. You can find Wallachian combed top for spinning or felting in our eshop - HERE.
The original Wallachian
The original one came to us during the Wallachian colonization, which took place in the 14th-17th centuries. It therefore belongs to the relatively old breeds of sheep, whose variants have been bred in a wide range of areas from Asia Minor through the Balkan peninsula up to our region. Their common feature is often a long, coarse, double coat wool, legs free of wool, horns and especially resistance to harsher weather conditions on highland pastures and the ability to move well in mountainous terrain. It was traditionally bred in the regions of Liptov, Orava, Kysuce or Tatry, at altitudes of 600-1200 m above sea level.
These sheep are of medium size (approx. 40 kg ewes and approx. 50 kg rams), but they are resilient, as is their wool. It belongs to the so-called assortment D / E-F, resp. over 40µm, which means it is a coarse wool sheep.
Currently, the original Wallachian is included among conservation breeds because its population has declined sharply. It is therefore one of the endangered breeds and several breeders are concentrating on its revival.
The shearing often takes place twice a year, which is typical for longwools. The fleece is cohesive after shearing, with a high lanolin content.
The lock has a triangular shape, as it consists of long stapled guard hair with almost no crimp and a shorter, finer undercoat. Staple length can reach 20-30cm. It is most often white, but it can also be found in various shades of gray, gray-brown or black.
The strongest benefit of the original Wallachian wool is therefore its length and strength.
It has almost no crimp (that is, it is more flowing - straight than curly), which translates into textile as low fiber elasticity. In there properties it resembles plant fibers, e.g. hemp or flax, which were traditionally valued for their strength and durability.
Long coarse wool will be a great choice for warp yarns, carpets, tapestries, or as an added material wherever you need to increase yarn strength. If you process raw wool by hand and comb the spinning blend for socks, throw in a handful of wallachian fibre and extend the life of the final product :-)
Traditionally, the wool of the original Wallachians was used for the production of "guba", coarse woolen fabrics, which can be used as carpets, cold wall insulation or bedspread :-D or for making coats in mountain areas. The wool is either coarsely spun and woven, or uncombed long strands are woven into the fabric.
However, the most kept breed in the Slovak Republic is the refined Wallachian. It was bred by crossing the original Wallachian with other, fine-wave and semi-fine-wave breeds, e.g. cheviot, texel, hampshire or lincoln. While maintaining a large part of the resistance to the mountain climate and demanding rugged terrain, a breed of larger body frame was created, with higher milk production and a semi-coarse wool assortment (34-38µm).
The refined Wallachian wool is always white, finer, with a richer and higher undercoat, overall shorter, more flexible and more consistent than the original Wallachian.
Of course, refined Wallachian wool is a bit more variable and can be used well for textiles and clothes, especially if your skin is not too sensitive. Although it is not extra fine, it is smooth, firm, and combs well into neat tops. The length of 10-15 cm is still great for spinning.
Both types of Wallachian wool also felt well.
The essential message of this article is that the coarse wool has its very good use and specific benefits.
Today, too often soft wool is prefered even if they are unsuitable for a certain project. On the contrary, the coarseness of the wool means that it can be used in places, where you need durability over softness. You can definitely fing wonderful use for Wallachian wool in projects, where finer wools simply cannot do the job :-)
Don't forget to let us know what you have made!
If you would like to try spinning Wallachian wool, there is a combed top available in our shop - HERE.
• We write more about wool maintenance HERE.
• We write more about the properties of sheep wool HERE.