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Sunday Fiber Facts-Icelandic Sheep

Hey y’all!! Happy Sunday! We made it, I’m not sure where we made it to, but alas here we are!

Today we’re going to talk a bit about Icelandic sheep.

This breed is currently one of the favorites amongst my circle of farmers, fiber farmers, and fiber friends. There’s many reasons as to why that is.

Icelandic sheep are considered a mountain breed and are not only known for their fibers but also meat and milk!

The fiber collected is considered a dual fleece, containing both the thel and the tog. The thel refers to the soft undercoat and the tog, the longer coarser hair. Originally the fleece was separated and utilized in various applications. Most spinners today, myself included blend them together. Many believe it increases the overall strength, integrity and water resistance of the yarn.

There’s so much more to talk about, but I’m gonna share my favorite factoid and quit. Icelandic sheep carry a gene called the Thoka gene. If a ewe has two copies of the gene they can have triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets and even sextuplets!!!!!! I mean wow!!! Apparently Merino sheep have a similar gene named Booroola.

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