Better Know a Sheep: Breeds and Yarns

November 13, 2017

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  • I just finished a sweater in Better Breakfast DK and loved working with it. Great article!

    • And it’s such a great name; that counts for a lot in my book for some reason.

  • Perfect level of informative geekiness. Love it.

  • Excelent article! Precise and detailed information based on a lot of experience handling yarns.

  • This is a wonderful explanation and breakdown of fiber characteristics. It will have me making yarn choices in a new way. Thanks.

  • Very nicely put, especially with the photos.
    Plus, a Mr. Darcy wet shirt is a perfect visible explanation.

    • I do try to slip Mr. Darcy in whenever I can!

      • Humor + knowledge = super fiber goddess. Thank you!

  • I have two(!) sweaters made from Kent DK, both well loved, and often worn. I will just add, from this vast experience, the DK weight works as a worsted and is quite warm, even here in Minnesota.My experience with the Bare Naked Wools is that they have so much more loft than commercial yarns that they can be knit at slightly looser gauge than you might expect.

    • This is my favorite yarn too – I am almost done with my first sweater in it. I’m planning one in the Better Breakfast Fingering weight soon afterwards.

    • agreed! the high quality fiber and lack of chemicals in processing allows the fibers in our yarns to retain much more of their natural spring; they will work with a wider range of needle sizes and offer stable fabric in more gauges than yarns that are more “tamed and consitified”.

  • Thank you for the wonderful information. Now I have to save this where I will remember!

    • Hi Minnesota!

      You can save it right here in your MDK account.

      At the top of the article, on the left side (just under the Comment symbol), there is a little flag symbol. Click it and it turns red and then you’ve saved the article.

      Whenever you want to view it, click your profile symbol up at the top (it looks like a person’s head and shoulders), and then click “saved articles,” and it comes up for you.

      We should maybe explain this to people as it’s quite useful when you don’t want to have to find something again but you know you will want to access it again in the future.


      • Thank you for explaining how to save articles!

      • That is so awesome! Just like MINNESOTAE, I was thinking I need to save this somewhere that I will be able to find it again later. I am totally going to save this to my account just as your too suggests! Thanks so much for the useful info!

  • Super helpful! My husband loves alpaca but I got cranky about it after I knitted him a sweater that just lengthened and lengthened, especially in the arms. But there’s no denying that alpaca takes color BEAUTIFULLY – my main criterion for a yarn, I think. Second after that is the bounce of wool, how it lifts away from your skin just a little. I’m excited to see a mostly-wool blend with “dehaired” alpaca – maybe it’s our ideal as a couple!

  • I just learned that Angora goats and I have the same hair! Well, it sure looks that way in the Mohair and Merino photo!

  • Excellent article! Thank you very much.

    FWIW, I tried the link,, but it didn’t work…I ended up typing it in and got to your lovely website just fine.

    • Thank you, Jean, link repaired. Wouldn’t have known without your heads up!

  • oh jillian, thank you for such a wonderfully warm review of our yarns; i SO enjoyed reading about them form the pen of someone i admire. you said so many things that i’ve said to myself as we designed them; your expertise in fiber goes right to the heart of each yarn. thank you again!!

  • I’ve been spinning and knitting Lincoln recently. It’s a bit coarse but that doesn’t bother me. I’ve heard Shetland spins up well and resists pilling, so that is on my to-do list. Thanks for the alpaca info – I noticed today that my SO’s scarf had fuzzed – now I know why!

  • Thank you Jillian, I enjoyed your article and look forward to reading your book.

  • I love your focus on mixed fibers- I’ve never seen such a great explanation of them!

  • Interesting article. Love spinning and knitting Romney.

  • What a great article! I’ve been confused about yarns that have a blend of a superwash wool with a non-superwash wool. Why would they do that? Seems like you would lose the advantages of the superwash by blending it with a feltable wool. Any words of wisdom from the wool cognoscenti?

  • Thank you so much for this great information.

  • Which is more swoon-worthy, Mr. Darcy or Bare Naked Wools Better Breaksfast Worsted? Before I read your article, Mr. Darcy would have won, but now BNW Better Breakfast Worsted gets my love!

  • If you had to pick THE best yarn for felting, which would it be?

  • Kids, you do realize that every time Jill is featured we are treated to a master’s course in wool? Spinners everywhere are bowing down. (I’m doing the “my eyes your eyes my eyes your eyes” thing with two fingers. Is there a name for that?)

  • Hi, great article! May I ask your opinion regarding Teeswater wool? I find it very soft with amazing sheen.

  • Hi, I enjoyed the info. Two questions pop up for me: how does blue face leicester wool fit into this, and what about the effect of different spinning methods on the yarn?

  • Thanks for the info!

  • Great information and thanks for the laugh. I crocheted a part alpaca sweater (I’m over 50) and have found that I get pretty dang hot in it even though it’s a loose double crochet stitch