Sheep of the Week: East Friesian

March 16, 2009 at 12:50 am 11 comments

Guess who got a package this week.

Yep. That would be me!

And in that package was a nice little Friesian fleece from Gretchen, of Gretchen’s Wool Mill. Yea!

Friesians are the Cadillac of milk sheep, and are also known for their prolificacy . You can read about more about them here.

I’d never worked with Friesian wool before,, so was mighty anxious to give it a spin (so to speak).

So, here is my experience so far-

The wool in it’s raw state:

Unwahed Fresian

Unwashed Fresian close

It ranges from about 3-4 inches in length. (Gretchen told me it’s usually a bit longer, but they sheared early this year.) Isn’t very greasy, and has a nice bit of crimp. This one is nice and clean,  with no veg to speak of.

Here it is after a bit of a wash-

Washed Fresian

Washed Fresian close

Bright white, and now you can see the luster. It “floofed” out quite a bit in the wash, but the tips remained intact, so it was fairly easy to sort it back out into locks and ditch any short bits.

Flick carded, spun, plied-

Fresian Test Spin

And swatched-

Fresian swatch

It’s a nice strong, sweater wool of medium fineness, I would say.  Has a nice bounce and body to it, and is lustrous, but not silky.

A very satisfying new wool experience.  Should be fun to play with.


Ps: And on a completely unrelated note, I wanted to share with any of you who have dogs, and who might ever have a need to use one of those horrible elizabethan collars for a post-surgical recuperation that THERE IS INDEED A BETTER OPTION.

Here is my poor sweet Bruno, stressed out and driving us all nuts with his icky plastic cone headgear:

Poor Stressed Bruno

And here is the same boy, content and relaxed in an inflatable ProCollar:

Content Bruno

Relaxed Bruno

Ahh. That’s better!

Denise out.


Entry filed under: Blog, Uncategorized.

Mother Nature Wins, Field trip Cancelled Magic Mystery Wool

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. juliet.....  |  March 16, 2009 at 6:30 am

    but you didn’t tell us why your sweet dog was in need of the hideous cone head gear? the wool is lovely and crimpy. I could literally touch it on my monitor.

  • 2. Jody  |  March 16, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    That wool reminds me a bit of Finnwool. Is it as soft?
    I am going to Holland this year so maybe I will see if I can find any.

    • 3. sheepsclothing  |  March 25, 2009 at 2:28 am

      Hi Jody-
      Sorry to be so late in getting back to you-
      I haven’t worked with Finn, so I can’t really compare,, but I’ve heard its quite soft. (That’s another one I really should try, if I could find it around here…) The East Friesian I would describe as more “crisp” than “soft”. I expect it will be very bouncy, resilient and hard wearing.

  • 4. Kathy  |  June 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Hi, Denise,
    If you don’t mind my asking…what does the East Friesian fleece go for a pound?
    I loved the post! Even though we Shetland people love our great, soft fleeces, I know we all like to try other breeds as well.
    Thanks for letting me “visit”.

    Sheep Thrills Farm

    • 5. sheepsclothing  |  June 23, 2009 at 1:49 am

      Thanks for your comment! I think I paid $3/pound, plus shipping and handling. At that price, I figure, it’s totally worth branching out and trying new things-

      • 6. Kathy  |  June 23, 2009 at 3:21 am

        You are so right, Denise! I have received about 3 lbs. of a Friesian lamb fleece to try out – but the kind folks never set a price, stating just send what I thought it was worth. Wow, that’s an open-ended statement. I think it’ll be nice, but want to make sure I give them a “going rate” for it, too. I hate to tell them what I get for coated Shetland fleeces. 😉

  • 7. denise  |  June 23, 2009 at 3:53 am

    I just went and checked Gretchens website, and it turns out that I remembered wrong. It was $5 a pound. Sorry for the bum info before!


  • 8. Diane Olsen  |  September 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I am picking up for free 10 or 12 lbs of East Frisian wool on Mon. It was going to be burnt !!
    I will ply with one strand wool and the other mohair from my Angora goats.

    • 9. sheepsclothing  |  September 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      Nothing like free wool, eh? Hope it’s in good shape and fun to work with. Plying with mohair should give you an interesting effect- will add some fuzzy silkiness to the springy Friesan.

  • 10. Vanessa  |  October 17, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the information in this post. I am researching sheep breeds for milking, but I also love wool, spinning, and knitting. You have helped me discover what an asset this breed is to the small farm!

    Woodland Croft

  • 11. Michael Price  |  February 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I have to agree with Vanessa here on the sheep breeds for milking and possible wool production, I have a small 5 acre homestead on which I raise Angora rabbits in my greenhouses, brilliant idea on using their Co2 ouput to enhance the environment, but I digress, I had been looking into milk sheep as an alternate income resource (Cheese and Soap) and was long in research about their wool quality, I came to many dead ends on sites about the EF’s Milking abilities and their breeding prolificacy but practically nothing on their wool quality until I stumbled on your site here. Thank you so much for branching out and offering such vivid information on your results. Keep up the good work and happy spinning!


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This is a Wool blog.

Who? Denise

Where? Skagit County, Washington

Why: To share my spinning and knitting adventures with other wool loving folk.


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