« and sometimes I space out | Main | .... and sometimes I wonder »

11 August 2006



Very informative! I appreciate the tutorial, as I know nothing about Icelandic fleeces. The pictures help demonstrate the contrasts. Are you really going to separate the WHOLE fleece?

Lee Ann

I'll bet you really ARE going to separate the whole fleece :-)

(Go, you!)


Oh, my, would you love my Forsyth 4-pitch combs for THAT job! That's exactly what they do best! Now, I just learned that you can get the Icelandic pencil roving and knit with it, sans spinning...saw that on EZ's Workshop tapes.

Marcy, Not so Blogless

Go, TMW, go! I'm glad to see you get back to talking about important stuff, like things Icelandic. And where can your fans obtain copies of this wondrous book?


Thanks for the lesson! I was wondering about the tog and the thel. No really, I'm serious, I was.

I think separating the two sounds like a fine project for children. Maybe not all day, but an hour here, an hour there... sort of a chore, like cleaning their room or shucking corn.


I can just see you, mad wool scientist in your lab, separating the fleece down to individual fibers, sorted by grade.

Possessed is a better word than obsessed.


Thanks for showing us in-situ picture of the Icelandic fleece. I haven't seen an unworked piece of fleece before (not counting when I was 14 and worked on a farm, not really interested in fleece at that point!).

Marcia: The unspun wool is called plötulopi http://tinyurl.com/ob9j4 and is traditionally used to knit up the Icelandic sweaters (lopapeysur). I guess you could use it to knit just about everything. I you use it double or triple to get the same thickness as Lopi has.


What if you spun a yarn with just tog? Too scratchy? Would it be rug yarn? What happened to your Icelandic font?
What about other dual coated breeds, can you separate them too? And how would you do that with wool combs?

And feel free not to answer any of these questions.


So cool; thanks for explaining all that.
(And I have to agree with Juno.)

Rachel H

Does even the laceweight Lopi use the whole fleece? That'd give it a very different texture to the laceweights I'm familiar with I think.

So how did this obsession, er, passionate interest in all things Icelandic come about?


Judith MkKenzie McGuin says Icelandic can be separated into 4 fiber types-2 thel and 2 tog. And she seems to be right, there are for sure at least 3 types like you found. She says the thel and can be separated into "cashmere type" and regular thel. Thanks for the tutorial, I too love Icelandic fleece, and the sheep themselves are so cool looking, kind of wild and windswept.


Thanks! That was really interesting. I had just attained a zen-like state where I didn't really want anything more, and now I want that book. Rats! Back to the drawing board!


That's so interesting! Thanks for the fiber lesson. Just another thing to tuck away in the fiberlog of information and resources!

Beth S.

Fantastic! Any day you feel like analyzing the characteristics of a fleece, go right ahead--you won't hear me complain. ;-)

I have a whole whack of Icelandic roving that I'm going to have to examine with a close eye now.

Trish B.

Those are some really nice photos showing the different fiber types. I have Beth's book-lots of great info. She was my worsted/combing spinning teacher this summer at OHS. I really enjoyed the class-she is a great teacher. I sure hope she is teaching double-coated fleeces next summer. I love Icelandic fleece-fine super soft yarns and strong embroidery thread from the same fleece!-and those heathered colors are great.

Bekka Borg

I just found this blog, while taking a break from skirting a moorit gray Icelandic fleece. Too funny. You're bookmarked now forever. Someone had asked about uses for tog only. I've read that it's good for weaving warp, but haven't tried that yet. Hoping too, but don't have the family loom set up. I'll have to go look at a lock and see how many fiber types I can find in it!


Hey, the Icelandic for "and" is very similar to the Irish for "and." Which is agus/ogus. How very cool.

I hung out with several professional Vikings while I was gone. Which is amazing enough on its own. But I learned some very cool things, and brought back some true gems. So excited.


Yes, there is a comemrcial yarn/spinning mill that separates these two - North Ronaldsay wool is very similar having a coarser overcoat and a finer undercoat (btw this is true for all our primitive breeds in this part of the world) and the little spinnery on North Ron does separate the two...and you can buy roving from them and spin your own yarn. There is also yarn available soemtimes on ebay or from Liz Lovick.

Bob Berentz

I'm looking at an Icelandic ram for my first sheep for a spinning flock. I got three guard donkeys to protect them ... better than dogs with the price of dog food ... I raise hay and have irrigation ditches they can graze.

His fleece is glowing white with black spots here and there and a gray thel. I had cards for my Jacob fleece ... rich browns ... and now single row combs for the Icelandic.

I like the older two breeds for the easy up keep ... no worming ... no foot rot ... they lamb in the pasture ... gather together if under attack and the donkeys can take out the coyotes. I am no where near good enough to spin lace or warp yet ... but in two weeks I'm getting there. My teach started me on a drop spindle and I'm about to switch to the Louet Wheel.

I do denim prayer shawls with the blue thread in the four corners ... and will be weaving them one of these days. I will use natural colored yarn with the blue thread from now on. Not what they do in Israel but these are my garments in 2007. I have learned a lot ... messing with wool. We also do cutting horses here in Idaho. Icelandic is a kick. Look at Tongue River Farms for the largest flock in the USA. Worth the trip.

Bob Berentz

What we could learn from LLBean - The intro to their Cardigan Sweaters - "Premium combed cotton is smoother and stronger than ordinary cotton Yarn is expertly knit to prevent pilling Tight knit helps it keep its shape, wash after wash."

I have been single row combing Icelandic lambs wool from the ram that I am buying ... Icelandic gets progressively coarser as the animal gets older ... carding didn't work. The long draw has become fixed into my mind as has the worsted twist for my tzitzit ... no air just tight spun fiber from my 1.9oz Turkish drop spindle Jenkins Woodworking - set in hot water. Bean says - they have reduced pilling by 1. buying premium or long cotton fiber and by 2. the tight weave. So, if we want long wear in wool we can copy what LLBean did in cotton. Not that we didn't already know that.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Thought of the moment:

  • Most of us today have grown so commonplace that we cannot see the extraordinary save in the exceptional. ~ Sōetsu Yanagi

2MW Patterns for Sale

  • Loksins_left

  • Febavenge
  • Woolcentric

email me

  • toomuchwool AT verizon DOT net

  • Febavenge
  • Tricoteuses

2006 Knitting Olympics

  • Medalwebsmall
  • Prjonalandslidid
  • Team_lopi_is_2
  • Knittingolympics1
  • Team_iceland_2