BREEDS & COLOURS

We have a range of heritage breeds, each providing wool of various shade, kemp and feel

Our varied flock create an earthy palette of fifteen shades: from a rich chocolate black through browns and greys to a pretty cream and a clean white. They are drawn from our flocks of Dorset Down, Hebridean and Jacob sheep, with greatest variety from our Shetland sheep: a heritage breed with a huge range of natural colours, as well as our softest and most luxurious wool.

Spun into quality organic yarns in nearby Cornwall by The Natural Fibre Company using their dependable Victorian machinery, our yarns offer a lovely way to relax, to produce cherished garments for family and friends and to exercise your imagination and creativity. We also have gift vouchers for the knitter in your life. All are available from our farm shop or online shop here.

Please enjoy browsing the photos of wool and projects on our samplers page. Happy knitting!

DORSET DOWN

Far less common than they use to be, most of our flock is made up of this dependable local breed which perfectly suits our need for hardy sheep which do well on our windswept coastal pastures. 

Their wool is a rich cream colour, robust, resilient and very well suited to outdoor clothing. It looks great knitted up in simple patterns perhaps with a bit of interesting texture and it lends itself well to patterns involving cables.

HEBRIDEAN

As hardy as their appellation would suggest, they excel at grazing our diverse scrub, where they can be hard to spot under the blackthorn and gorse. Their dark fleeces bleach at the tips over the summer  to average a rich Chocolate Black wool.

Because of its coarser fibres, this may not be your first choice for garments to go next to the skin of people with sensitive skins, but is excellent for harder wearing outer garments, socks and gloves. The staple is long, which allows a more relaxed spinning and contributes to its strength. The combination makes a yarn with a pleasant feel which is soft and springy to knit with. 

SHETLAND

Shetland sheep are lovely to have on the farm because they are pretty, delicate looking sheep with a wide variation in colour. Their luxuriant wool is the finest fibre we have on the farm so it is also more suitable for knitting for babies and people with sensitive skins than our other wools.

We have nine different colours of Shetland wool, all from the natural fleece colours of our Shetlands, sorted, blended and carded to get a good range, from the rich brown of the moorit sheep to soft brown, delicate fawn and silver grey to the clean white, now an uncommon colour for Shetland sheep.

JACOB

The Jacob sheep give us a pleasant tweedy grey. This is made by carding together the black and the white wool from these smartly spotted and patched sheep. The different fibre colours in the yarn give it depth of texture and a feel of life.

Jacob sheep have a fairly fine wool with a good staple length. As a result, the wool need not be spun so tightly. This gives it a very comfortable feel when knitting. Though the wool is more relaxed than the Shetland wool, the individual fibres are slightly thicker.

ORGANIC YARNS

We produce four thicknesses of yarn, each suited to differing function, ease or fineness of the resulting garment.

4-PLY

50g/175m

 We have this thickness in all five colours of Shetland yarns so there are many combinations available to you, from very subtle to quite striking contrasts. Our finest wool, 4-ply is perfect for sophisticated knitwear with more detailed patterns or lacy delicate fabrics. Traditional Shetland lace shawls were made of a single ply called fingering and were so fine that they could be passed through a wedding ring! This 4ply is not quite as thin but it gives some of the same feeling of delicacy in the fabric and is very warm for its weight. It could be made warmer still by using textured stitches or knitting fairisle patterns that carrying the strands at the back, making for a thicker garment.

DOUBLE KNITTING

50g/110m

Double Knitting (DK) is probably the most all purpose of our yarns in thickness and as we have the largest range of colours. It offers plenty of scope for all knitters so makes a good choice as a gift.  You can also make very warm garments using DK wool by knitting fairisle patterns, carrying the strands at the back and therefore making the garment thicker.

 

ARAN

50g/70m

The Aran yarn is our second thickest (equivalent to knitting with two strands of the 4-ply), making it quick to knit into warm, thick woollens. Alternatively using smaller needles and a tighter tension it will made a dense hardwearing fabric or using larger needles you can make thinner fabrics with greater drape.  Aran is excellent for textured knitting with cables, ribs and simple textures such as moss stitch.

 

CHUNKY

50g/55m

The chunky wool knits up very quickly (equivalent to two strands of DK wool), making it satisfyingly fast to complete a project and makes for a thick, warm garment. It is excellent for textured knitting with cables, ribs and simple textures such as moss stitch, which make the finished garment even thicker and warmer. Though we only have chunky in two colours (Dorset Down Cream and Hebridean Chocolate Black), if you want to use any other colour to go with them, you can simply use two strands of our large range of DK yarns instead.

 

WHY BUY OUR WOOL?

Who you buy your food and fibre from is one of the strongest voices anyone has for how our natural world is looked after. It's the power to shape landscapes. Here are a few of the reasons you might choose our wool for your next creative project.

Organic

Our wool is certified Organic, so you can be sure that it is free of the chemical residues and pesticides applied to wool in convention farming, and that only environmentally friendly products were used when it was washed and spun into yarns. Safe for you and the environment.

Family Run

Tamarisk is a small family run farm. We’ve been here since 1960 with the third generation just now getting stuck-in. We’re passionate about what we do and if you’re ever visiting for an open day or just to come to the farm shop, we’re more than happy to explain what we’re about.

Pure Wool
Wool is a natural and renewable insulation that requires less energy in its manufacture than man-made fibres, and it has some rather amazing properties: it is UV protective, fire retardant, biodegradable, resilient, breathable, odour resistant and hypoallergenic.
Nurturing Biodiversity

Our sheep are older, hardier breeds that thrive well on coarse grasses, brambles and herbs, thus they can graze permanent (un-ploughed) pastures that gain their fertility from the diversity of plants. Careful grazing helps maintain the varied habitats the pastures and scrub provide for the plethora of butterflies, orchids and birds. This, sadly less common practice, is often called Conservation Grazing.

Sustainable

Our hardy sheep spend almost all their lives outside, grazing natural permanent pastures. This sort of traditional management is far less intensive in resources and carbon than systems feeding grain on fertilised and cultivated pastures that contribute to water pollution. All this amounts to deeper, richer soils that sequesters more carbon dioxide than is emitted in the life of the animals. This makes their wool a carbon neutral, sustainable fibre.

High Animal Welfare

Organic standards require the highest animal welfare under any system in Britain. We take personal pride in the rich, healthy and stress free lives our animals lead, grazing our varied herb rich pasture and scrub. We do not routinely medicate our livestock but if it is necessary, there is no hesitation, even if this means that the wool can no longer be used for Organic yarn.

Quality Assurance

Soil Association Certified, our yarns are spun in nearby Cornwall by The Natural Fibre Company using their dependable Victorian machinery. The provenance of your wool is assured and every hank of yarn can be traced back to its flock.

Ethical

Our wool is certified as ecologically and socially responsible by the Global Organic Textile Standard. As organic wool, farm workers and mill workers do not ever risk illness from synthetic dyes or harsh chemicals when producing our yarns and both we & The Natural Fibre Company pay staff at or above the Living Wage recommended by the Living Wage Foundation

National Trust Tenant

Much of the farm is rented from the National Trust so the rent we pay for the land helps protect our countryside for everyone’s benefit. Because of their help we can share miles of footpaths & public access, so you can come and see our pocket of the Jurassic Coast for yourselves.

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