Sheepspot

Dorset Down Roving

©Kim Wall Photography and used by permission.

©Kim Wall Photography and used by permission.

Breed History

Dorset Down sheep (not be confused with the more common Dorset Horn or Polled Dorset) originated in Dorset, on England’s southern coast, and date back to the 1840s. They were produced by breeding Southdown rams to local native ewes.  

Dorset Downs are quite rare. They are currently listed by Britain’s Rare Breeds Survival Trust as a “minority breed,” with fewer than 1500 registered breeding ewes in Britain in 2015. There are few if any Dorset Downs in North America, but there are a number in New Zealand.

Fleece Facts

Dorset Downs grow dense white fleeces weighing 4-7 pounds, with a staple length of 2-4 inches. Their wool typically falls in the 25-29 micron range. It is crisp and resilient, with the blocky, rectangular lock structure typical of the Down breeds.

Preparation

Carded roving processed in New Zealand from New Zealand-grown wool

Prickle factor

We rate this Dorset Down roving a 2.5 on our “prickle” scale from 1-5. Spun woolen, it’s perfect for warm hats and mittens that will take hard wear, or for a sweater to be layered over another top.

Spinning hints

This carded fiber loves long draw. and other woolen drafting techniques. Spin it with just enough singles twist to hold together, and don’t over-ply it. It will bloom and even out if you agitate it a bit in the finishing stage.

Undyed Dorset Down roving

Undyed Dorset Down roving

Dorset Down roving in Ignite

Dorset Down roving in Ignite