This fleece is just washed, with the photos taken midside. Her neck wool measures four and one quarter inches long (11 cm). That makes for excellent, easy spinning of very soft, special yarn! That length of staple lends stability and clarity to the yarn. Midside wool is between five and six inches long (13 to 16 cm), with very nice tips for shedding rain. The density of the fiber is excellent....DENSE!! She is well protected in all kinds of weather, just what the unpampered Shetland needs. Britch wool, that area down the rear outside legs measures just over 8 inches (21 cm). She is fed a diet of nice quality grass hay with a little alfalfa mixed in for good nutrition during gestation (we run short of Calcium fast around here, for which the alfalfa helps). The year of this fleece was a lambing year for her.
This is the type of fleece that defines the Shetland breed. The staples are not "crimpy", but wavy. The tips shed wetness. Many of the early Shetland breeders here in the U.S. describe the fiber as "silky", although that word is not on our breed standard. Because it's not on our standard, I hesitate to use that word, but they are right! Fiber like this IS very silky in hand, and an absolute joy to spin. That silkiness is really noticable when plying fiber fast through the fingers; all you feel is soft!
It's hard to see here, except maybe in the bottom of the picture, just slightly left of center, but this fleece will spin up with a warm, buttery cream color to the yarn that reflects light and gives the viewer a warm feeling. It's a color that pairs stunningly beautifully with other Shetland colors. This yarn never sits around!! I have no trouble selling it, for it sells itself.
Time to get spinning! (Just in time for the NEXT snowstorm!!)