Falkland Island wools

Falkland Island wools

The Falkland Islands, like New Zealand - and as once like England - are where the 450,000 sheep outnumber the 2,800 (in 2011) people. Raising sheep for wool was the mainstay of the Falklands economy until 1987 brought fisheries licenses and 2003 an abattoir, adding fish and meat to the island income. The more recent advent of tourists (again like England for many farms!) has also helped, but sheep farming is still the main land use on the tree-less moorland landscape.

The original breeds were Cheviot, Romney and later Corriedale but the majority of the flocks are now heavily influenced by Polwarth. As demand for both good carcases and ever finer fibres has grown, Falkland sheep are now also also getting Merino, Cormo and Dohne Merino genetics. Wool is collected and classified according to the fibre rather than the breed, as in Australia and as is largely the case in the UK. Due to the climate, there are no flystrike problems, which means the fleeces have high welfare and no external pesticides applied, nor does mulseing take place.

The fleeces are carefully sorted to maintain the highest quality, skirting before grading to group the whitest and most consistent wool and then lesser qualities and colours. The islanders sell either via a co-operative, direct or through an agent into the UK. Almost all the sheep are white and coloured fleeces are a rarity. Colour is discouraged as it can taint a whole bale and most of this wool is going for industrial scales of production and dyeing. At one stage there was some fleece processing on the islands but now the fleeces are graded, baled and core tested before being marketed. Once sold it travels by ship across the world, notably to China, India, the UK or Czechoslovakia.

Our yarns are normally in 50g balls, unless otherwise described on the Details tab on each individual product page. Please see our 4-ply and finer, 5-ply guernsey yarns, Double Knitting, Aran and Chunky pages for information on tension and gauge.