Friday, 15 February 2013

Steinschaf Sheep

Rare Breed

About the Steinschaf Sheep: The Steinschaf is a direct descendent of the now extinct Zaupelschaf or Neolithic Torfschaf making it one of the original breeds of the European Alps.  In the beginning of the 20th century the Steinschaf still roamed the meadows of Bavaria, Germany, especially the areas around Berchtesgaden, Traunstein, and Rosenheim. In Austria, its range was mainly in the Salzburg area.

The original Steinschaf was a dual-coated, small, and wiry high mountain sheep, characteristics making it ideal for the high mountains in the Eastern Alpine regions. The modern Steinschaf is now a robust, small to medium-sized sheep with dual coated fleece with pithy, long coarse hair and fine wavy and short under coat

 With every wool colour from white to black to browns,as well as brindled. They have small heads, free of wool, straight noses and short, pointed ears stuck out sideways. The tail is long and thin. 


According to the Society for the Conservation of old and endangered Livestock Breeds, In 1863 about 208 000 animals existed. Numbers were reduced to 1000 in 1964. Breeders in Germany and Austria collected 30 animals  in 1985 leading to 2004 where they created a programme to market high quality products made of Steinschaf wool. This successfully helped to increase Steinschaf numbers.


My spinning Experience: I was fortunate to have a Steinschaf lamb sample. It was a gorgeous dark, dark shade. A bit neppy, likely through the carding process ,the fibers were short but created a rustic yarn. This Princess recommends spinning a sample of this rare fiber and should you gather enough, it would be an amazing conversation piece(whilst supporting increased Steinschaf numbers) for an outerwear garment…just not next to Princess skin soft.

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