December 26, 2010

A Little BFL Gift for Myself

Shropshire, top, BFL, bottom

I got a little gift for myself, a sample of Blue Face Leicester roving.

This BFL is different from the usual.  It is in the form of roving, not top, and it is traceable to a single flock located one state over from me.  This means it didn't come from a homogenized blend of anonymous wool from overseas.  Roving means that all the wool is there, not just the longest strands, and that the strands are randomized rather than aligned.  This gives a different structure when spun, a more lofty fuzzy yarn.

singles spun from BFL wool roving

singles spun from BFL wool top
The roving is sold directly from the farm.  Direct sales are supposed to let producers get more profit from their products than they would selling to wholesalers.  I found the farm using the Local Harvest directory and I ordered through that website, which was convenient.  Direct sales are also supposed to let buyers get items that are low in "food miles."  The farm probably sent their wool out to be processed by a custom mill, so there's no telling how much distance the wool has travelled but I would guess no farther than the midwest.

The shepherds market their wool as coming from sheep that live natural lives.  Along with wool, the farm sells meat and sheepskins, so if you take "natural lives" to mean sheep gamboling in the fields until they are full of years and gathered to their ancestors, then no, I don't think that is what it means.  The farm's page says the sheep live on pasture and are not given growth hormones.

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