When the fleeces arrive at our mill, they are hand sorted by colour and selectively blended to achieve three undyed shades. Then we add a bit of magic! instead of making a traditional marl by plying two or more shades of single yarns together, we combine the various blended shades during the spinning process to create much more subtle and contemporary marls. The resulting glorious gradient of natural shades – Marlstone, Granite and Basalt – are each over-dyed in the same colours, so the transition from light to dark comes from the fleece itself. The only problem is limiting the range of the dye colours as we get three of each!
Even from the same sheep, the pale and dark Jacob fibres have different textures. The lightest shades have wonderful drape and a subtle sheen, whereas the darker shades are more bouncy. This subtle variation is one of the many joys of working with wool sourced directly from British producers.
This yarn comes in 4-ply and Double Knitting and is worsted spun giving it a smoother handle and wonderful stitch definition, making it ideal for garments and shawls. Despite its smoothness, Jacob is also hardwearing enough for outerwear and accessories, even socks.
The Jacob breed is believed to have come to the UK from the Middle East, possibly via Spain. Spotted Jacob sheep can be seen in Egyptian wall paintings dated to 1800 BCE, making them one of the most ancient sheep breeds. How wonderful to think that their fibre is still being used almost 4,000 years later.