SHETLAND FLEECE

Shetland sheep have for generations been noted for their very soft and well crimped fleece and can show almost all possible sheep colours and patterns and many have Shetland dialect names. Eleven main colours are recognised (most including many different shades): light grey, grey, white, emsket (dusky bluish-grey), musket (light greyish-brown), shaela (dark steely-grey), black, fawn, moorit (reddish brown), mioget (honey-toned, yellowish-brown), dark brown.

Over thirty different coat patterns are recognised within the Shetland Sheep Society and many of them occur in combination. They include katmoget ("badgerface": dark belly and dark shading around nose and eyes, lighter elsewhere), gulmoget (the reverse with a light belly, dark face with light marks around eyes, dark elsewhere), yuglet (generally light with dark "panda" patches around eyes), bleset (dark with white blaze down face), smirslet (white marking around muzzle), sokket (with white socks on legs), bersugget (irregular patches of different colours) and bielset (with a collar of a differing colour).

See: www.shetland-sheep.org.uk/colmarks.html

Shetland wool fibres are of a simple construction with a central cortex covered by a thin scaly cuticle, and have an average diameter of about 23 microns. However there is a range from 10 to 20 microns for neck and shoulder wool to 25 to 35 microns for birch wool. The average staple length is 3.5 inches.

The amount of crimp varies, and is important in providing the 'bounce' required for knitwear. There is a positive correlation between fineness and crimp, with wool of the finest quality being crimped at between 8 and 12 to the inch.

Wool from Shetland sheep is used to produce gossamer lace, the famous 'Fair isle' knitwear, and fine tweeds.

At Rosebank we have a wide variety of colours and markings and breed fior good conformation and fleece quality.