The Teeswater Exploration has been extended til 14th May – but you can definitely get cracking with the Romney!
Firstly apologies for the lateness of this post – I am still struggling with typing, so this has been a WIP for a while!
Wool Exploration is romping along, isn’t it? I can’t believe we are embarking on 6th breed and I am delighted that it is the Romney, sometimes referred to as Romney Marsh sheep or Kent Romney. Having learned to adapt to life on the soggy Romney Marsh, the sheep have adapted to growing quite fine fleeces, despite living on a landscape below sea level. Of course, Romney aren’t just limited to the UK; Romney were imported to the US from the very early 20th century and you will find Romney is Australia and New Zealand, where there has been very successful cross breeding to create the Perendale, Coopworth and Corriedale sheep and also carpet wool breeds, like the Drysdale. (Please remember though that we are looking specifically at 100% Romney).
Commonly seen as a classic creamy white sheep, Romney are also coloured – as you can see from the top image. I wonder if we will see some variations in our exploration?
This is from The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, by Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius.
Romney is the fleece most likely to be voted president of the Wool High School senior class. It can’t do everything, but it is an all-around good citizen and extremely versatile, with personality and charisma. It’s a classic, for many good reasons. Because Romney are now found in many geographic regions, breeders can closely adapt their flocks to the environments. The wool reflects some of these environmental factors, but the fiber characteristics are similar enough for textile workers purposes.
Romneys produce wool in a range from moderately coarse to fairly fine. The fiber belongs to the Longwool family, but its finer than most of the other longwools to feel like a cousin, rather than a sibling.
(once again, I am not paid to promote this book – I just think it is the very best reference for you and you should definitely get it!)
So, will it be that we all experience Romney the same way, wherever we are in the world? I think that Romney will have a lot to teach us, actually. We have already worked with a longwool and so I will be excited to hear what we discover about this one!
| Where Can I get Romney?
Romney Marsh Wool (you may remember I interviewed them a few years ago, in episode 36) have a wide range of their own Romney yarns, from their flocks. There is chunky, aran, DK, four ply; there is lambswool and there are singles yarn too. I should add, for those who like their yarn totally grown, spun and dyed in the UK, their singles yarn isn’t spun here. Their shop is here and prices are from £4.50 to £12. There is also fibre and fleece for spinning
Blacker Yarns have some Romney yarns (spun Guernsey/5ply style) – please check you are ordering a 100% Romney yarn, as Romney is in some of their blends, I believe. There are other colours of the Romney on sale from Find me Knitting.
World of Wool have double knit and also have prepped tops. The tops start at £1.95.
Westfield Farm is the home to the Aylesford Flock (those who have shopped at BritYarn in the past will have seen this yarn) They sell their yarn from their own site and have various different products too.
As usual, Etsy will also be your friend when trying to find Romney fleece, fibre and yarn, but do remember that you need to use 100% of the Romney breed and you cannot use a blend.
While I usually only give you the British links here (because the aim of the podcast has always been to support British wool, whilst also encouraging you to find your own local) I have to link to Prado De Lana, as I got to squish Amanda’s Romney yarn at EYF, and I think my North American chums will love it.
| How do I take part in Wool Exploration?
Well, I’m sure by now you know, but each month there will be a specific breed for you to seek out;
- We must use a yarn that comprises 100% of the chosen breed wool – no blends
- That yarn can be any weight (lace, 4ply, DK, &c).
- You can knit or crochet any design into a nice big swatch
- We will follow the same Wool Exploration guidelines, upload our reviews as a ravelry project.
- Your notes should also be transferred into our exploration google form, which collates all our info.
You can use dyed or natural wool, hand-spun, commercial spun, or limited edition, small batch – the idea is that we will discover everything we can about that breed wool in a review and I will report these findings each month on the podcast. There will be so much to learn.
We will have a chat thread for each breed and I will preface each new exploration with a blog post – Like this one, Remember you don’t have to commit to every single month of exploration, just jump in and out as you like!
The Romney thread is now open in the Ravelry and the deadline to fill in the google form for romney revues is 6th June. Happy exploration;)