Monday, 11 October 2010

Fibres: Bluefaced Leicester Sheep

[caption id="attachment_2590" align="alignright" width="266" caption="Blue Faced Leicester fibres, spun and knitted"][/caption]

Bluefaced Leicesters are very majestic sheep with a broad muzzle, good mouth and a tendency towards a roman nose, bright alert eyes and long erect ears. The wool fibres are normally whitish and the name comes from the dark blue skin which can be seen through the hair on their heads.

Previously known as the Hexam Leicester it is now known as the Bluefaced Leicester and is the most popular crossing sire throughout the British isles. The term Mule sheep means any crossbred sired by a Bluefaced Leicester. The 'Mule ewe' makes up almost half of the UK's crossbred ewe population. Bluefaced Leicesters can be found in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

Working with Bluefaced Leicester

Bluefaced Leicester fibres are long and fine and forms  long, narrow, curly locks. It works well for strong, smooth fabrics that will drape well.

'I found that Bluefaced Leicester, with it's longish fibres, drafts very easily, which makes my spinning much more even. It is very soft and nice to knit - you might even say it is bouncy!' (quote by Cecile Renaud)


Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders Association - UK

Bluefaced Leicester Breeders Association (BFLBA) - US

Bluefaced Leicester Union of North America

The images in this post are copyright of Eddie Roued-Cunliffe. You are hereby granted permission to use them for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit Eddie and link back to this page. If you are using them and talking about this post I would love to hear from you in the comments.


  1. Blue Faced Leicester

    I use this blended with Mohiar (15%) in spinning fibre to make sock yarn. It's properties make it one of the best (along with Romney). The staple length and crimp allow a good draft and worsted spin and adding the mohair gives it added strength and durability.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Dee.
    I haven't tried out Blue Faced Leicester yet but I would love to.



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