Meet The sheep

This page will give you more information on the breeds of sheep used in creating the yarns I sell. 


Shetland Sheep

Shetland sheep, as the name suggests originate from Shetland, they are part of a group of sheep known as Northern short-tailed, all the sheep in this group are primitive sheep, this means they are hardy and adapted to living in harsh environments, they are of small stature and have much shorter tails than modern breeds of sheep. Most Shetland sheep produce incredibly fine soft fleeces, which are much sought after, although not every fleece from Shetland sheep is of such good quality. The fleece weighs between 1 - 1.5 kgs with a staple length of 5 -10cms 

Shetland sheep come in a variety of different colours and pattern markings, there are eleven solid fleece colours and more than thirty different patterns, the combination of colour and patterns all have Shetland dialect names.

The picture shows two different patterns, the top one is called gulmoget, it has a dark body colour with a lighter colour stripe running from between the front legs along the belly and up to the tail this one would be called a black gulmoget. The lower picture shows a katmoget which has a lighter body and darker stripe, katmogets also have a pattern on their face which is darker around the sides of the face and lighter down the front of the face, this one is a fawn katmoget. 


The Hawkshaw Sheep yarns that use Shetland fleece are,

Charcoal Laceweight - a blend of Shetland and Wensleydale fleece.

Cocoa Laceweight - 100% Shetland fleece.

Cafe au Lait DK - 100% Shetland fleece.

Limestone DK and Aran - 100% Shetland fleece.

Pewter Aran and Chunky - 100% Shetland fleece.

Bonfire Smoke Aran - a blend of Shetland and Hebridean fleece.

Midnight Sky - a blend of Hebridean and Shetland fleece.

Curlew - a blend of Derbyshire Gritstone and black Shetland fleece.



Cheviot Sheep

Cheviot Sheep, (pronounced chee-viot) are native to the Cheviot hills that straddle the border of Northumberland and Scotland.

Cheviot sheep are predominately white, although there are a very small number of black cheviots in the national flock. There are now two different types of cheviot sheep, the north country cheviot and the south country cheviot, the main difference between the two types being size, the north country cheviot is much larger having been bred and developed on the lush pastures of Caithness in the very North of Scotland, where as the south country cheviot remained on the much harsher environment of the Border hill lands.

The fleece usually weighs between 1.5kg - 3kg, with a staple length between 6 -12cm. The fleeces vary enormously in quality, some being soft and relatively fine through to those which are very coarse and full of kemp. 

The Hawkshaw Sheep yarns that use Cheviot fleece are, 

Clotted cream 4ply and DK - a blend of Cheviot and Alpaca fleece.

Smokey Quartz DK - 100% Cheviot fleece.


Hebridean Sheep

Hebridean sheep are a member of the Northern short tailed group of primitive sheep. Originating in the Hebridean islands, located off the west coast of Scotland.

These are a small sheep which have black fleeces, that can turn silvery grey with age, originally they came in other colours but since the inception of the Hebridean sheep society all pedigree sheep must be black! They are predominately a horned breed, carrying anywhere from 2 to 6 horns, a very few are hornless, these hornless sheep usually have a prominent top knot of fleece on the top of the head.

There can be quite a variation in fleece type, before there was a breed society all the sheep used to have what is known as a double fleece, a soft under fleece to keep them warm and a much coarser longer outer fleece to keep them dry. The multi horned sheep still tend to have fleeces that are more like their ancestors, whereas the 2 horned sheep have been bred over the years to have a single more uniform fleece. 

The fleece can weigh between 1.25 -2.25kgs with a staple length of 5 - 15cms 

The Hawkshaw Sheep yarns that use Hebridean fleece are,

Graphite worsted weight - a blend of Hebridean, Wensleydale and Alpaca fleece.

Midnight Sky chunky - a blend of Hebridean and Shetland fleece. 

Bonfire Smoke - a blend of Shetland and Hebridean fleece.



The Wensleydale sheep, originates, as the name suggests in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, it was created in the early part of the 19th century.

It is a large sheep, and comes in both white and black varieties, the white fleeced sheep has a blue head and legs whilst the black fleeced sheep has black head and legs. Wensleydales produce a lustre fleece which has a noticeable sheen to it, it is a large fleece weighing between 3 - 7kgs with a staple length of 15 -30cms.

Not as hardy as the primitive and hill breeds of sheep, the Wensleydale being such a large sheep would definitely not survive living out on hill land. They need to have access to hay, sheep feed and shelter during the winter months. 

The Hawkshaw Sheep yarns that use Wensleydale are,

Charcoal laceweight - a blend of Shetland and Wensleydale fleece.

Graphite - a blend of Hebridean, Wensleydale and Alpaca fleece.



Derbyshire Gritstone

One of the oldest native sheep breeds in the Uk, it originates in the Peak District in Derbyshire. 

It is a sturdy, hornless hill breed of sheep, that thrives in the rugged environment of the Peak District. it produces a fleece which is one of the finest of all the hill breeds, weighing between 2 -3kgs with a staple length of 8 - 10cms

In years gone by it's fleece was used in the production of hosiery, being both soft and strong.

The Hawkshaw Sheep yarns using Derbyshire Gritstone are,

Curlew 4 ply - A blend of Derbyshire Gritstone and Black Shetland fleece.


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