Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Spinning High on the Hog....Island

Hog Island

Critical Conservation(less than 200 registered animals)
Staple length 3.8-6.5cm
Micron 22-32

My Hog Island sample came from Nosheepyet on Ravelry, along with a short history of the breed. This was the defining moment where my interest in the history behind the fleece and beyond the lamb chop was awakened.
So...this breed originated from Hog Island, off the coast of Virginia, USA in the 1700s. There they roamed free, without fences or predators for hundreds of years, until 1933 when people left the island fleeing a hurricane. Many sheep remained, reverting to their feral state until 1974 where they were rounded up by the Nature Conservancy and now many remain part of the heritage landscapes of living history museums, including Plymouth Plantation, the Museum of American Frontier Culture, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, George Mason’s Gunston Hall, George Washington’s Birthplace, and the National Colonial Farm.
Hog island sheep are tough and hardy. Interestingly lambs are usually born with spotted or speckled fleece which disappear upon maturing. Spotted faces and legs are common. They are primarily white fleeced with about only 10% black.  Making them even more interesting and unique is the fact that their lines have been preserved as an insight into American history and not bred for characteristics as with most modern sheep.  Feral sheep are rare in itself and Hog Island is one of the few feral populations in the US.

My Spinning Experience: My particular sample was just awesome for providing a medium workhorse yarn. Whilst perhaps not high on my Princess Skin Softness Scale, it is right up there as a must-have-a-go-at-spinning fiber. Enjoy!
Recommended further reading: livestock conservancy

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a fascinating look at this breed. I really enjoyed reading your post, and learned a lot, too!