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Skins, prepared Wools and Fleeces for sale

Sheep Skins
We believe in making use of the whole animal and consequently have all our lamb skins tanned to make beautiful soft rugs in the natural Balwen colours which range from deep black to a light chocolate brown, or a lovely thick creamy-white of the Shropshire. We use a local Dartmoor tannery that has been professionally preparing skins for over 200 years.
The sheepskins are taken fresh to the tannery and are first washed in clear moorland water before the tanning process begins. Traditional wooden paddles gently circulate the skins through the tanning solution, which is held in large wooden vats. The tanned skins are then pegged onto racks before passing through a large drying oven. A circular granite wheel is used to buff the back of the skin to a fine level.

Balwen lamb skin rug (photo supplied by Jenny Rees)

Each sheepskin is then individually softened. The fleece is combed and polished on a warm cylinder before a final trimming and hand brushing.
The rugs are easy to clean and maintain. They can be washed in a machine - use a cold or woollen cycle, with just a teaspoon of your normal powder – but no tumble drying!
Our sheepskin rugs add a touch of luxury to any part of your home; they can be used on the floor, on your settee or even sewn together to make beautiful larger rugs. Just remember that the Balwen is a small rare breed so please don’t be disappointed in the size of your rug!
Skins cost £60-80 (inc VAT) plus P&P – to order please telephone or email us your contact details

Wool
In 2008 we had all our Balwen and Kerry Hill lambs’ wool professionally cleaned, carded and spun and made into naturally coloured 50g balls, cones (of various weights equivalent to roughly 10 x 50g balls), and carded fleece for spinning.  All the wool is from our own sheep and has not been blended, dyed or treated with chemicals in any way. Wools are available to buy by collection or can be sent through the post, please contact us if you are interested in purchasing some.

The Balwen wool is a dark chocolate brown with some natural coloured flecks. It is surprisingly soft and springy for a mountain breed and does have some kemp providing an interesting texture. It is best used for outer garments and is available in Aran weight 50g balls, various weight cones, or as carded wool for felting, spinning etc. The Kerry Hill wools are creamy-white and are reputed to be one of the softest of the British native sheep wools and are available as both 2 or 3 ply 50g balls or cones (sold out of carded white wool for 2010).

Prices are as follows:
Creamy white Shropshire
50g Aran weight balls              £4.50 each
50g Chunky weight balls          £4.00 each
100g Aran hanks                      £9.00
100g Chunky hanks                 £8.00
Washed & carded wool            £4.00/100g

Soft white Kerry hill
Cones of 2ply   (various 300-500g)  £6.25/100g
Cones of 3ply   (various 300-500g)  £6.00/100g

Rich brown Balwen
50g Aran balls                          £4.50 each
50g Chunky balls                      £4.00 each
Cones of Aran weight               £8.75/100g
Cones of Chunky weight          £6.75/100g
washed & carded wool             £4.00/100g

Balwen aran wool Kerry Hill 2 & 3 ply wool Selection of natural Balwen
& Kerry Hill wool

For further information on wool, its uses, suitability of particular breeds, see the Natural Fibre Company website and associated Blacker Designs

Fleeces
We also sell naturally coloured raw fleeces for spinning, weaving, felting and other craft uses. The Shropshire fleece is fairly dense, spongy and springy, weighs approximately 4Kg, has a fibre diameter of 50s-58s and is used commercially in tweeds and flannel, hosiery and hand knitting wools. The staple length is approx. 7.5-10cm, staples are large and rectangular with nearly flat tips. Balwen wool is shorter, surprisingly soft and springy and does have some kemp providing an interesting texture. The Bradford count is 40-50 microns, staple length 5-7cm and average fleece weights in the range of 1.5-2Kg as they are considerably smaller. Here’s what one spinner had to say about working with Balwen.

All fleeces are sold as shorn and come from animals that have not been dipped in chemicals. We will endeavour to make sure the fleece is as clean as possible with any large pieces of soiled wool, twigs, grass, straw etc removed prior to packaging.

Raw fleeces for sale

To store fleece:

  • Roll it with the cut ends outside
  • Avoid contaminating good fleece
  • Do not tie up
  • Put in a suitable bag - plastic is OK for a short period but they should not be stored in these for any longer as they will sweat
  • Fleece is best stored in paper bags, nets or cotton pillow cases - moths are less likely to penetrate cotton and spoil the fleece
  • We have found that our border collie is particularly partial to pulling fleece from storage sacks and playing with it, so try to store them out of reach!

Cost:
Lamb fleeces £6 plus P&P

Ewes fleeces (Balwen will have a mix of colours including grey fibres) £5 + P&P