If you have ever purchased wool for knitting purposes, you might know that there are multiple kinds of wool yarn bases. Wool is a blanket term used to describe the fleece of a sheep. It ranges in use from hard wearing coarse wool for carpets and upholstery to the finest softest wool to be worn next to the skin. If you are spending hours hand knitting you will want the highest quality yarn that gives you the qualities you need to create beautiful hard wearing items. Choosing the right base for your project can be very overwhelming. It’s not just about the color or the weight of the yarn! I researched several different breeds of sheep before deciding to raise BFL. Blue-Faced Leicester has many wonderful qualities that suit many different types of projects, and they are very docile friendly sheep!
Isn’t wool scratchy? Yes, some wool is very scratchy, but some breeds have very soft wool. Different breeds of sheep have different uses for their wool.
Why was my wool sweater I bought at the department store so scratchy I couldn’t wear it? Manufacturers, usually use wool from the “wool pool” to make their yarns, the wool pool includes shearing from mostly meat sheep which are very coarse and scratchy. The wool pool wool, say that three times fast! Is also scoured with very strong chemicals to dissolve the vegetative matter, manure, etc, which is hard on the wool making it even rougher, and sometime the chemicals used cause skin reactions. This may be why when wearing a commercially knitted garment it was too scratchy for you to wear next to your skin.
Before searching for blue-faced Leicester wool for sale, it is better to know some of its characteristics and why it is better than other wool yarns available.
What is BFL? BFL is short for Blue-Faced Leicester. It is a British Long Wool with a 4-6” long staple length, incredible luster that absorbs dye well, and is soft enough to be worn next to the skin.
Soft For Next To Skin Wear
One of the primary reasons behind the popularity of blue-faced Leicester wool yarn is its soft texture. The micron count of BFL is between 24-28 microns. Not as soft as Merino, but still soft enough to be worn next to the skin. The tradeoff of these few micron counts is additional strength and less pilling in your finished garment because of the longer staple length.
BFL wool has a smooth cuticle which gives it its incredible luster and makes it feel softer than most other wools with the same micron count. This smooth cuticle also lets it absorb dye for vibrant results.
Strength and Durability
Blue-Faced Leicester has a long staple length which when spun tightly for socks makes for hard wearing and long-lasting socks with less pilling than a merino sock. When spun less tightly, it makes the perfect yarn for sweaters, scarves, and shawls with incredible drape. Add in BFL’s natural luster, in beautiful natural hues or hand dyed, BFL is a perfect match for many different projects.
Small Flock Hand Raised
We raise our small flock of BFL in the pastures surrounding our home. We take care with our pastures and their feeding to minimize the vegetable matter in their fleece, but you still may occasionally find a stray reminder of the fact that sheep live outside and eat grass! Our sheep all have names which we then use to name each batch of yarn that is processed. After shearing, which they LOVE, we gently scour our wool with non-toxic soaps before sending off to a small Midwestern Mill to be processed into yarn spun to our specifications.
Know that when you purchase BFL yarn from New Garden Yarns you will receive the highest quality Blue-Faced Yarn for your project. We are happy to collaborate with you to find the perfect base in its natural shade or consult with you for a custom dye order. Please feel free to contact us for more information on our yarns.
Carolyn Warren30 Mar 2023 - 12:03 pm
Thank you for this informative article. I didn't know about Blue-Faced Leicester sheep before. The yarn from their wool sounds very special, and I look forward to trying some. Their faces are pretty cute, too!