Our Dorset Down sheep were not chosen for their wool quality. We have them because they are a local breed which suit our farming need for a hardy sheep which grow well on our difficult ground. Dorset Downs have become quite uncommon, so we chose them over the also local Polled Dorset.
When we started the wool enterprise, we decided that it was worth having some spun as an experiment even though the wool is of quite short staple and not considered very exciting for the purpose. When it arrived back at the farm we were surprised and thrilled: it turned out to have a rich cream colour and is a robust, resilient wool, very well suited to outdoor clothing. It looks great knitted up in simple patterns perhaps with a bit of interesting texture (see the child’s waistcoat) and it lends itself well to patterns involving cables .
This is the lighter of the two thicknesses which we have in Dorset Down wool, and it is rather the softer of the two. It is still substantial and despite being a fairly thick wool and therefore quick to knit, I would not recommend it as a yarn for a beginner. It looks very good with textures but is not forgiving of small errors or variety in tension.
We also have this thickness of wool in Charcoal, Tweed Grey and Ryemeal, from the Jacob sheep and Chocolate Black from the Hebridean sheep, and the softer oatmeal from the Shetlands, so if you want to work with colours, there are combinations available to you which are particularly good for simple stripes or strong fairisle patterns.