Horned Dorset combed top that was grown and sheared on our farm, then custom processed into combed top at Zeilinger Woolen Co. It is a clean, smooth preparation with a staple length of four to five inches.
The fibers are strong and robust, yet possesses a lovely soft hand, unlike many of the down-type wools. Perfect for handspun socks, cabled sweaters, and mittens or gloves.
This Horned Dorset combed top comes from some really long stapled fleeces we got from our older brood ewes. We typically like to shear the ewes as they near lambing so the little ones can find their way to eat and it makes it easier for the moms to care for the lambs. As our flock has gotten larger, we found that it was better to lamb just the Border Leicesters in the spring and lamb the Horned Dorsets in the fall.
Needless to say, as we held off breeding the Horned Dorsets from November to April, we didn’t think to shear them and we ended up with some tremendous long fleeces. If you remember the old cartoon of the old English sheepdog looking after the prizewinning sheep “Wooly Boy,” you get the idea. When we got the fleeces sheared, Kate—ever thinking of what is the best use for this particular batch of fiber, suggested combed top. We took the fleeces up to Zeilinger Wool Co in Frankenmuth Michigan to have them custom processed into combed top. The advantage in driving the wool to the mill is having a chat with the folks at Zeilinger’s, seeing the piles of fiber and the equipment in action, and perhaps also having a bite to eat at Frankenmuth Brewery before heading home (I love their fish and chips). The top turned out really nice, clean, smooth, and a buttery soft handle.