Dorset wool spins very easily and is an excellent choice for beginners as well as advanced spinners. It usually classes as a medium fiber diameter wool, wears well even in socks, is a Down wool, and is generally considered one of the softest breeds in the Down classification of wool types. Dorset wool is especially good for sock yarn. It wears well and is very warm. Dorset wool also blends very well with a wide variety of wool types, but especially with mohair. Kid or Yearling Mohair blends beautifully with softer Dorset fleeces to make an outstanding yarn.
"Down" is a fleece type that refers to fleeces that are lofty, air-trapping, and very warm, with somewhat indistinct locks and minimal crimp in the raw fleece. There are many breeds of sheep with Down types of wool, most originating from the British Isles. Traditional Dorsets, including purebred Production-style and Horned Dorsets, have Down fleeces, but Dorsets do not have as harsh a texture as many other Down breeds. The hand may be a bit crisp but is usually not harsh. It is commonly used for long-wearing socks, sweaters, and other outer garments as well as blankets where warmth-trapping loft is desired, but may also be worn against the skin by many people. It has the Down characteristics of warmth and durability but with a softer hand, slightly increase crimp, and slightly less loft. It spins easily and takes dye beautifully.
According to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, fiber arts participation has increased. 31.5 million U.S. adults participated in fiber arts in 2012, an increase of 2 million people since 2008. These participants did weaving, crocheting, knitting, quilting, needlepoint, or sewing.
Each Spring, just before lambing, sheep are shorn. Fall lambs are shorn in September. Each fleece averages 7 pounds which is enough to send to the woolen mill to make a 100% virgin wool heirloom blanket.
The blankets start as raw wool from the sheep. First, the wool is washed with liquid soap and hot water. Raw wool contains 10 to 25 percent lanolin, which is recovered during the scouring process. After the wool is washed and dried, it weighs almost forty percent less. A carding machine then combs and brushes the wool into roving material. Wool roving is then spun into yarn which has been dyed into a variety of colours. The wool yarn is warped onto a loom. Sixteen hundred warp threads make up a blanket, and each one is fed through a loom. Colours and patterns are custom made for the farm. After the blankets are preshrunk in steaming hot soap and water, they are hung to dry in the dry house, and brushed again to make them fluffy, then hemmed, folded and packaged for shipment back to the farm. These blankets are made into lap/baby, twin, and queen sizes. With proper care, these blankets can be passed down through the generations of families.