Saturday, January 14, 2017

a time of reflection

This time of year is calm, especially this year.  We've had very mild weather, a few cold days here and there, but nothing to complain about.  It's been good.
Today's temperature is 31 degrees and no wind, so it's quite nice outside for January.
I could tell the girls wanted to get out, as they were reaching through the fencing to nibble at grass.
So I obliged, while I was giving the rams hay they had there fun running back and forth.  I suppose they were getting some much needed exercise too.
   My post today of reflection, was brought about by a recent article I had read in my new monthly
Newsletter, Sheep Industry News.  
The specific article, The Mythical Wool Allergen, which you can read here.
I thought was a very good article to help all understand about wool and how the micron of the wool matters when it comes to garments that you want to wear next to the skin.

The article goes on about a recent study that was conducted by The Woolmark Company and how wearing superfine wool garments have helped in the treatment of eczema.  The article also explains the what happens when the wool fibers make contact with your skin and you may get a prickley feeling from a wool garment that you've made or wear next to your skin.(based on the wool; micron)  While the Woolmark Co. will be publishing their findings to dermatological journals and sharing their studies with The International Wool Textile Organization to also share with the wool supply chain and consumer markets around the world.

In their article they speak of superfine "Merino" wool as the recommended wool for next-to-skin clothing, I'm sure this is because the article is based on large commercial wool producers.

For small producers like myself (yes, I have 50 sheep but I am a small producer) it was great to hear of their findings.  We have been for quite a few years now producing Shetland Sheep with a focus on fine wool.  We have been micron testing our sheep and producing fine wool that is amazing to work with.  I have wool yarns that I've spun years ago, prior to beginning the fine wool focus with our flock and the difference is quite obvious.
Today I wouldn't use those yarns in items that I make to sell.  I have become quite a fine wool snob...if you will.

Most of my flock of shetlands (and two CormoX ewes) have coats to protect and provide the cleanest of fleeces that will be available for raw wool sales to hand spinners.  I am happy to say that all of these girls fleeces are amazing.  
The article proves that we are on the right track with fineness and what our consumers want.
This wool isn't like that scratchy sweater that you got years ago.
The hats, scarfs, shawls mitts and yarns that get made every year to sell, many say, 
"this doesn't feel like wool" and that is because of the micron.  The fineness of the individual fibers creates an amazing product and then ...bonus, you get the benefit of wool.