Our Sheep

Shetland Sheep

The Shetland sheep is a small, fine-wooled breed of sheep originating in the Shetland Isles where their fleece was roved and spun into fine yarn. Shetland sweaters, hats, etc. were knit in an infinite variety of colored Fair Isle design patterns. Today, in North America, there is a resurgence of interest in mastering these old skills.

Shetland sheepOne of the marvelous aspects of the Shetland is its variability within the breed. A small spinner’s flock can produce ultra-fine Shetland yarn for handknits as well as coarser, but equally gorgeous yarns suitable for sturdy socks and warm outer garments and remarkable tapestry yarns.

Shetland sheep can show almost all possible sheep colors and patterns, although solid white and solid moorit (reddish brown) are most common. Many of the colors and patterns have Shetland dialect names derived from the Norn language formerly spoken in Shetland. Eleven main colours are recognised (most including many different shades): light grey, grey, white, emsket (dusky bluish-grey), musket (light greyish-brown), shaela (dark steely-grey), black, fawn, moorit (reddish brown), mioget (honey-toned, yellowish-brown), dark brown.