What’s so Special about Shetland Wool? – Yarn University #11

What’s so Special about Shetland Wool? – Yarn University #11

If you’re at all familiar with fair isle
knitting, you’ve probably heard of Shetland wool. But aside from grazing on
picturesque, windswept moors what makes Shetland sheep different from other
famous breeds? Sheep are just sheep, right? (“Pomp and Circumstance”) (sheep baaa!) Shetland
sheep come from, you guessed it, the Shetland Islands in Scotland but are
thought to have been brought there by the Vikings. These sheep are small and
can survive in rugged conditions on minimal diets which is how they have
endured for thousands of years. These sheep can have a variety of markings and
spots, each combination with its own traditional name. Because Shetland sheep
were not bred to have uniform fleeces, one sheep can produce wools with
different coarseness. This means fleece from a single sheep can be used
in everything from lightweight lace to heavy tweeds.
According to The Knitters Book of Wool, the finest fleece on Shetland sheep
comes from its neck and it’s often spun into thin lace yarn that is used in
traditional Shetland wedding ring shawls. These large shawls are so delicate they
can fit through a wedding ring. Shetland wool has also historically been used in
fair isle knitting. Fair isle, of course, being named after one of the Shetland
Islands. Shetland sheep today come in eleven natural colours, a variety from
blue grey to honey brown to true black. And their wool was often used undyed
but the bright white fleeces became very popular in the 20th century for dyeing.
Today you can find Shetland yarns in a variety of colors often with a beautiful
heathered quality. Have you worked with Shetland yarns before? What do you like
about this wool? Leave a comment and let us know!


  • LionBrandYarn

    September 10, 2019

    What do you like about Shetland wool?

  • M Juarez

    October 10, 2019

    Never used it

  • Cathy Dixon

    October 10, 2019

    I have never used it before

  • Sheila Miller

    October 10, 2019

    Love the softness you get from Shetland wool

  • Sandy Grogg

    October 11, 2019

    Never used it, but would love to give it a try. I hear that it is pretty soft.

  • Beth Staton

    October 11, 2019

    I have never seen or heard of it until this video. Thank You so much for sharing this 😊💝!

  • Janice Brown

    October 12, 2019

    I've never used it before but would like to try it.

  • Joan Apthorp

    October 16, 2019

    Because it’s woollen spun, it is lightweight and warm, great for sweaters. Not good for socks because it has little tensile strength and can’t cope with abrasion. Because the slightly hairy wool clings to itself, it is great for garments that require steeks, and it felts well. I don’t find it soft as I’m too accustomed to Merino.

  • Jake Isitt

    October 21, 2019

    Thank you so much for this video. I've just met a lovely person who has Shetland sheep very local to me. This was a great video and faith thinking me to buy some fleece from them

  • Celtic Highlander&AHook

    November 8, 2019


  • Celtic Highlander&AHook

    November 8, 2019

    Well im scottish close to Orkney by 22 miles.
    Never tried the wool though as. Sllergic to eool. I use dynthetic snd cotton yarn.
    Does keep you warmer though real wool from what i hear.
    How do they get the wool from their neck? That be terrifying for dheep to remove.

  • Li Morgan

    December 16, 2019

    Neat. I wear a lot of thrifted cashmere, angora, and wool. I recently came across a Shetland wool sweater and had never heard of it before. Thanks for the info!

  • K.A.Z A.Z

    December 17, 2019

    I did not know anything until i tried to buy a good quality sweater. An expensive one was made of shetland wool. Before that I thought Geelong lamb wool is the warmest.could you be able to compare the two? Geelong wool and shetland wool?


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