I've been working away at the fleeces from Rare Breeds, getting my share of the samples done.
The first one I tackled was the Romney, and that was a nice fleece. Fairly clean, bouncy, white, wasn't felting...The Leicester came next, and that one was pretty good too. Stiffer than the Romney, more a wave than a crimp, and yellower, except for a couple batts' worth of some soft, fine, crimpy stuff that looked like a completely different animal. The Clun Forest is dense and crimpy, and has a lot more hay and stuff in it, so I only picked and carded enough to spin a skein, and will tackle the rest when all the samples are done.
Last night I picked Shetland, and there's enough stuff in it that I'm doing the same as the Clun. Got a nice pile picked, enough to spin the sample, but I'm losing a lot of it to brittle/matted ends. What's left is soft and crimpy, so it will be a nice yarn, I'm sure.
I kind of saved the Cotswold for last, as a treat, because I liked it so much on first sight. But after I started picking it this morning, I know I'm past liking - I'm in love. It's gorgeous. I want to take it out with me and show it to people like old ladies do pictures of their grandkids. I vaguely considered skipping going out tonight to stay home and pick Cotswold - and if that's not a sad statement, I don't know what is.
Really, though, what's not to love? It's silky, and shiny, and not felting, and has locks as long as my hand.
It's in shades of grey ranging from the ivory-gray of a snowy sky to almost charcoal in a few places, but most of it is silvery-pewtery colors.
I've sorted it a bit, light to dark, and I can see doing something shaded with it. Lace, probably. It wants to drape, and be something luxurious. (The pile in the top right is Shetland, but the rest is Cotswold. Two heaps begun of picked, and two bigger heaps unpicked.)
The coolest thing about the color, though, is the strands aren't grey. It's all from different ratios of black and white fibers. I think it gives it more depth.
Oh, I can't wait to spin it. And I've decided I want a Cotswold sheep (or several) of my own someday.