Image: Blacker Yarns
We’re about the start exploring the conservation breed Jacobs, which will conclude our first quarter of Wool Exploration!
As usual I like to kick off with an introduction to this breed from The Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook, by Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius. This really is a great book and cannot recommend it more highly. I am under no obligation from the authors or publisher to say that, I just believe it is the best handbook for your Wool Exploration.
Jacobs sheep are known for their mutlicolored coats and unusually picturesque horns; they can have two, four or six horns – a trait known as polycerate. […]
If you’ve seen one Jacobs fleece – or even a bunch of them – keep your mind open about the breed and its fiber. Jacobs have one of the widest ranges of acceptable fiber qualities of any kind of sheep. Over time, you may learn what to expect from specific supplier, depending on where a retailer is getting the fiber, what a breeder is emphasising in a flock and so on
The wool has many Down-like qualities, especially in the middle of its exceptionally fine to coarse range. Kemp, if present, may give the wool a tweedy effect, and most Jacob has a springy quality. The sheep are often predominantly white with spots of another colour – black. brownish, or what is called lilac, which is not a single colour and is not yet entirely understood from a genetic perspective.
I am looking forward to this as, again, we have a breed here that is going to show us a wide range of yarns and textures. In the F&FSB they show samples of both British and American Jacob yarn and the results are very different. I also remember from a wovember post a few year ago that Sue Blacker said that this is a fleece that benefits from both woollen and worsted spinning, so I will be keen to see the results between preparations too.
I had some early KnitBritish blog exploration of Jacobs, which can be found here. I also used Jacobs in my Evolution of a Swatch session at EYF, with Sonja Bargielowska. We had samples from cast off to washed and block, to worn and to felted – so I will be digging them out again this month too.
| Where can I buy Jacobs?
I am so glad you asked!
Bekki at the Dartmoor Yarn Company has 4ply Jacobs in the two natural colours. The Jacobs fleece comes from Shutecombe Farm’s Pedigree, in Bere Ferrers – approximately 3 miles from Dartmoor National Park. The wool is woollen-spun and in a 50g ball there is 175m.
World of Wool has an array of yarns and fibres in different preparations from £1.50 per 100g combed tops to £5.75 for super chunky yarn.
If you subscribe to Blacker Yarns newsletter you will know that they are about to relaunch their Jacob yarn. You can currently purchase the white, 4ply worsted-spun, but middle of this month you can expect to see a new range, with dyed shades. I’ve got a preview for you on the next episode, out next week!
Jacobs is such a popular fibre for spinners that you should not find any trouble in seeking fleece, roving, batts, etc. The same goes for spun yarns, I think you will find lots of choice. I didn’t find much hand-dyed, but a search on etsy or folksy will yield results.
I’ve ordered a small amount of Jacobs fleece from Wychwood Spinner on etsy and plan to drop spindle this month, as well as test out two Jacobs yarns. The fleece that I bought has been termed lavendar, which I am guessing is that lilac variety mentioned above. When the postman finally gets it to me, I will be keen to explore it more.
| How do I take part in Wool Exploration?
If you haven’t explored with us already this year then all the info you need is in this post.
The deadline is 9th April and here is your link to google form, so you can post your reviews. The chat thread is now open in the KB ravelry group.
The next breeds we will be exploring are Teeswater, Romney, Dorsets and Southdown and I wrote a post about this last week. Check out the info and deadlines there.
| Giveaway from Dartmoor Yarn Company
Bekki has been very kind and is giving away a 50g cake of their lovely brown Jacobs 4ply yarn for one of our explorers this month. That is so kind! To be in with a chance of winning, please comment below and tell us what you are enjoying most about wool exploration. I will close this giveaway pretty sharpish on Sunday 11th March and I will draw a winner at random soon after.
HURRAH! Random.org picked comment number 1, Sando! Sandra send me your address and I will pass it on to Bekki. Congrats!
Images belong to those in caption or attributed to those in the accompanying info
*= Brityarn is closing its doors on 28th March. Isla has a code THISISNOTGOODBYE for 20% off everything in store.