Posted by: Leslie | September 17, 2010

Stansborough Grey

For a few years I’ve made an effort to work with local fibres as much as possible, buying fleece from local farms more often I order from somewhere outside Ontario/Quebec. Once in a while, though, something comes up that I find myself justifying the carbon footprint, and most recently it’s raw Stansborough Grey fleece. Stansborough Grey is an offshoot of the Gotland breed, having been created entirely by a single New Zealand farm. It’s very difficult to find in any kind of unprocessed form, even roving, as it sells very well as yarn or finished garments (being the raw material for those grey elven cloaks in The Lord of the Rings movies is no doubt a big selling point).

Recently Talia Sommers at International Fleeces was able to get a small supply of the raw fleece and graciously put some up for sale. Talia also has an excellent overview of the breed here. I ordered a small amount, which just showed up along with a small sample of mixed Finnwool:

What astonished me about this fleece, and what doesn’t come through in the photos at all, is the bright lustre of it. It is almost as shiny as sterling silver, and yet it is incredibly soft:

Very nice crimp for a longwool:

I’ve really overlooked Scandinavian wools in my career as a fibre artist, having written them off as overly coarse based on a single experience with some Gotland that was likely very low-grade. Seeing this fleece makes me realize how much I’ve missed, and how many more types of fleece I should try working with. I was shocked at the softness of the Finnwool, too, which is softer than most alpaca I usually come across:

I’ll post more pictures as I process and spin this fleece.



  1. Hmm. Never even felt Finn wool. I must do that at the next fiber show I go to.

    Glad you enjoyed the videos and hope they will be helpful!

  2. The Stansborough looks amazing. Is it ready to spin, i.e., clean, or does it need to be scoured, etc.?

    • It’s completely raw (ie, unscoured) but very clean and it’s a very low-lanolin breed. Won’t take much to clean it.

  3. […] that I just taught a course on fibre prep, I figured I ought to do a little prep of my own with the Stansborough Grey fleece I bought recently from International Fleeces. I actually bought a bit more (well, a lot more) when […]

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