Photo: background, Handspun, handknitted Shropshire Lambs Wool Single Bed Blanket. Rovings: Charcoal/Silver Grey 2015 product for sale: Middle Roving dyed from 2014. All Socks: Handspun, Handknitted, (Middle) Lambs Wool Socks, both pairs worn as explained above. R New socks not worn, I just love looking at them and trying them on. For this winter. Cannot wait.
Shropshire Wool is excellent for socks, outer garments, mittens, and beenies. This wool has a spiral staple and is very easy to spin, medium to fine is best. A lightweight, but strong wool making excellent woven or knitted rugs and blankets. Shropshire wool does not wet felt, but is good for needle felting, stuffing for toys or cushions, and easily dyed. This wool has natural spring, is difficult to crush, giving resilience and strength when mixed with other natural fibres, The wool has a "crisp" feel, but as a sock is warm and comfortable, the spring in the wool giving an almost therapeutic feel to the sole of the foot. I have personally machine washed Shropshire Lambs Wool socks in a cold water wash with normal washing powder in a Laundromat machine. The socks did not shrink, felt or lose shape. I did this to prove to myself that the wool would not wet felt. Of course I do not recommend this. I have personally found that the wool in a Shropshire sock does not hold foot odour, and have worn 100% Shropshire Wool socks during summer, and found them to be more comfortable than synthetic socks.
During the Autumn, Winter, Spring of 2014, I only had two pairs of Shrop Socks, which were worn continuously, using gum boots and work boots. The lambs wool socks developed a small hole in the back of one heel first. One of the first pair of socks I knitted as a beginner, but have now learnt from more experienced knitters, to reinforce the heel. I am happy to share my "knitting experiments".
To keep socks in good condition, never wear without slippers, or shoes. I soak in warm water with a quality wool wash, and follow the manufacturer's instructions on the packet.
My flock of Shropshire sheep is small, therefore I have only small quantities of white or natural colours available. However my sheep numbers are growing, along with my experience. It is an unusual wool, once highly prized in England and the early settlement of Australia. Each breed of sheep has wool that will have a specific purpose for end product.
NB: Shropshire Wool does not Wet Felt