Fibre: Cheviot

CheviotCheviot Ewe and Lamb (From here)

History

The earliest reference to sheep from the Cheviot Hills dates to 1372 which refers to ‘a small, but very hard race’.[i] During later centuries it appears that both Merino and Lincoln bloodlines were added to the original Cheviot stock, records state that there were 3000 Merinos brought to England in 1480, a similar number were introduced in 1560.[ii] In the eighteenth century, further improvements were made to the breed  which increased both the meat and fleece production.[iii]

The breed has subsequently introduced to the United States (1838) and Australia (1938) – although it appears the breed is in decline in Australia.[iv]

The Fibre

  • Staple length can vary from 4-5 inches, some Australian examples see staple lengths reach 6 inches.
  • Diameter of the fiber tends to fall between approximately 27-33 microns, though 24 are know.
  • The fibre should spin up well, and works well in blends.

My Cheviot Spinning

Cheviot was my first spinning experience, and I used a drop spindle to create about 40m of super-bulky/art yarn. This is certainly a breed I would spin again.


[ii] The Cheviot Sheep Society – History; D.Robson & C. Ekarius (2011). The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, p.54.

[iv] Oklahoma State University, Breeds of Livestock (Sheep: Cheviot); Rare Breeds Trust of Australia – Cheviot 

Useful Links

The Cheviot Sheep Society 

Oklahoma State University Breeds of Livestock, Sheep, Cheviot

Cheviot Sheepbreeders’ Association Australia 

Rare Breeds Trust of Australia – Cheviot 

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