White mohair, black sheep, and black and white sheep

Spinners must be the most generous group of people in the world! I want to show what’s been given me the last couple of weeks. Let’s start with mohair that Sanski Matikainen gave me. Sanski is a professional spinner, and she also teaches spinning and natural dyeing. She’s also very generous with advice on mohair, which a great joy for me.


This is a sample of mohair from a 14 year old goat named Birgitta. Soft and lustrous, and very white.


I washed it (remember, very hot water for mohair, otherwise the waxes won’t come out and it’ll be sticky and unpleasant to work with, and almost impossible to get clean later), and then browsed my stash to see what to blend it with for a sock yarn. I chose fawn Shetland top and white silk brick. Next step will be to gently card them together. There’s 14 grams of mohair, 14 Shetland, and 5 silk in each heap. I have four heaps altogether. I’ll add more wool to the blend, after advice from Sanski. Mohair is almost new to me, as I count the 4-5 times I’ve spun it only as an introduction.

Mohair (Angora) goats don’t go out very much in winter, because the damp weather isn’t good for their coats. Here Birgitta enjoys the nice sunny winter weather. All goat photos with courtesy of Sanski.


And after being to the hair stylist:

Birgitta lyhyt villa

More of Sanski’s goats:



The second gift was some readily carded black Finn from Petra Gummerus. I spun a rather thin 2-ply. The two small skeins are bobbin leftovers from light brown and black Finn also from Petra. The yarns before washing:


May I present Weera, the black ewe who delivered her wonderfully soft and silky wool. Sheep photo courtesy of Petra.


She lives on Myllymäen Tila together with a herd of Finns with lovely fleeces in white, brown and black, gently cared for by her shepherdess and spinner Petra Gummerus. Petra spends hours skirting and removing double cuts and vegetable matter from the wool before she sends it to her buyers. She’s a gift to hand spinners!

The third gift is a rare wool. Härjedalsfår from Sweden isn’t a recognised breed. It’s a cross or mix of several breeds, where Norwegian Spaelsau seems to be dominant in this particular sample. There are only 5 flocks in Sweden, so there’s isn’t any chance they will be registered as a breed in the near future. But you have to start somewhere, don’t you? The sheep are double coated with a strong overcoat and a soft undercoat. Several breeds in Sweden have that kind of wool, among them Värmlandsfår, Dalapälsfår, Klövsjöfår, Roslagsfår. Thanks to Désirée, who sent me this! It’s still in the grease, but will be scoured very soon. I haven’t decided how to handle it. Separate the colours, separate the guard hair from the undercoat? Or just card everything together?



As you can see, I have some wonderful moments by the wheel ahead of me. I have to get it done soon, because it’s now definitely clear that I go to Shetland Wool Week in September. You who have been there, guess where I’ll go more than once? And what I’ll have to send home by mail, as it won’t fit into my baggage?


  1. Marilyn F.

    I’d say what you have to ship home is fleece from the Wool Week fleece show. I’ll bet you will have some nice choices. I once saw a black and white Cormo fleece and I still kick myself for not buying it, but I bought a golden brown moorit merino fleece instead. Only so much money to go around. Hahahaha.
    What a great combination of fiber you’ve chosen for your sock yarn. Can’t wait to see what it will look like. Mohair is an extremely long wearing fiber. Its great to use at least as a reinforcing thread for toes and heels of socks. Its nice you have a source for mohair there and especially that you were given a fleece!

    • Barbro Heikinmatti

      Haha, yes. From Jamieson & Smith, if I can get through to the wool bins when everybody else also try to buy fleece. Mohair: I don’t have a whole fleece, only samples, but there’s more when I want to buy some.

  2. Susan

    What beautiful animals these fleeces came from! And with your expertise this will be a great exercise. I think you should take an empty suitcase when you go to Shetland for, well, you know…………haha Am quite jealous don’t you know!!

    • Barbro Heikinmatti

      Yes, I agree, the goats and sheep are fine representatives of their breeds! An empty suitcase would be fine, but it’s a multiple leg trip so I go with only one + carry on. And trust Royal Mail for the shopping!

      • Marilyn F.

        Yes, Angora goats are precious animals. I used to raise them and loved the little kids when they were young. Just as cute or cuter than baby lambs. The tight little mohair curls on their skin reminded me of a poodle, but of course the kids are much cuter. And their little ninnies (goat baaaa’s) still ring in my ears. I think you will like working with the fiber.

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