Herdwick pt.1: the fiber

The November breed is Herdwick, also from the Spinning Loft. G immediately warned us it was not like the Ryeland. It has kemp, hair and wool. Herdwicks are from the Lake District (and Beatrix Potter raised them). I am also familiar with Herdy Shepherd on twitter.

The fleece was very variable with some sections incredibly dense with kemp or hair. My bag had fewer of these sections than some bags.Herdwick fleece

Herdwick locksMy bag had at least 52 g originally. (I had already discarded some of it before I weighed it). Some of what I discarded were very short blobs of dark hairs. The staple length is about 4″ but some sections are noticeably shorter. Some sections also have a lot more long, dark hairs, which make it noticeably coarser and darker. I know these coarse white fibers are what makes Herdwick different, but these sections dense with the kemp seem better off disposed of.


This is what our Herdwick looks like carded, from one of the sections less dense with the kemp.

Herdwick carded

Most of my sample I am combing on mini combs. I combed darker and lighter sections together to make it more even overall. You can see not all kemp is removed by my combing.

Herwick combed

This picture shows both what I pulled from the combs, as well as the very short waste that fell on the floor and the blobs of black hairs I mentioned above that I am discarding. I discard some of this comb waste before coming home from the Spinners meeting.

leftover from comb

Here is the combing waste carded. It is very coarse.

Herdwick combed waste carded

Next time: spinning the Herdwick


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