British Breeds, Oxford Down, Wool

Oxford Down. The fleece breed.

Adderbury ram 1943H C Stilgoe’s Adderbury ram lamb, champion at the 1943 Oxford Ram Fair
(Photo courtesy of Oxford Down SBA from http://oxforddownsheep.org.uk/)

I received 55 grams of this squishy fleece, all washed and ready to card for spinning from @bakewell_hearts during the holidays.

Oxford

55 grams,carded Oxford Down from England.
Pictured with my EnidAshcroft Spindle, also from England.

Though I do not have sheep roaming (currently) on my five acre parcel, I am a shepherdess to a flock of fleeces that have come my way, in one form or another.  I believe knowing your fleece breed is a must for any good steward of wool.

Here is a bit of information on this fine breed:

Oxford down was established in the UK in the 19th  century, dating from the 1830’s and developed by crossing Cotswold rams with Hampshire Down and Southdown ewes.

They handle of the fleece is soft/medium.  It is squishy, but has a rustic feel to it when carding.  It has a wonderful hand spinning it on a Turkish spindle.

The color is white/cream, with a full fleece weighing in between 8-10 pounds (american Oxford Down) and 2.5 – 3.5 kg for British.  The staple length ranges 3-5 inches (7.5-12.5 cm).  The fiber microns run 25-37.  Those microns counts do give the feel of the medium/rustic wools.

Oxford Down dyes nicely, though the wool is a flat color, so it will not be radiant once dyed.

A durable yarn can be made from spinning it for socks, mittens, hats and casual sweaters.

A sheep known for having gentle dispositions, I would certainly love to have a few grazing out back.

Until next time…

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