Hebrideans are very hardy and excellent at grazing the scrub. Being black and very cheeky sometimes makes them very difficult to gather when they’re hidden there! The fibre from the essentially black Hebridean sheep is variable across the fleece and from one sheep to another, from proper black to brown and even occasionally some light grey. Some parts of the fleece are quite kempy (that is, having thick, hair-like fibres) while some parts are nearly as fine as the Shetland. 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.
Because of the kemp, this may not be your first choice for garments to go next to the skin of people with sensitive skins, but it can be excellent for harder wearing outer garments and gloves. The brown component of our Hebridean derives from the black wool bleaching to brown at the tips over the summer, altogether averaging to a rich Chocolate Black.
The chunky wool knits up quickly, making it easy to complete a project and the fabric it makes is thick, giving a very 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. We also have chunky wool in Cream (from the Dorset Downs), which offers an excellent contrast colour, good for stripes or simple bold patterns. See Holly’s hat for inspiration!