Sheep wool curly locks are perfect for adding a touch of style to your accessories. Different types of wool produce different locks, and each has its own distinct characteristics. If you’ve looked into the types of wool locks available and you’ve felt overwhelmed by the choice, you’re not alone! There are hundreds of varieties out there, and so choosing the right one can be difficult. Luckily for you we’ve written a list of the best varieties available, along with their unique benefits.
First, let’s start with what a lock actually is. Simply put, a lock is a small bunch of untreated wool. Some breeds produce long, lustrous locks, whereas others provide shorter, frizzier locks. The type of lock you choose will depend on your use, and what sort of look you want to achieve. Wool locks come either washed or unwashed, and some can also be dyed.
What are the best types of wool?
Tibetan Lamb Mohair
This is an incredibly soft wool, and is usually very long. It’s easily recognizable by its wavy texture and slightly off-white color. It can be easily dyed, and is a very versatile material. It looks great on its own, but can be treated and turned into accessories such as flowers. This is one of the types of wool that might come still on the skin, so shop around for somewhere that sells specifically wool locks.
These sheep have more traditional wool that is dense and curly. A purebred Leicester Longwool produces wool that’s around 20cm in length, and is white in color. It’s a great choice for dyeing and felting due to its dense texture. It also looks great just as locks, but doesn’t have the same appeal as other wools when in its natural state. This is an ideal choice for making accessories, or for use as a base wool for roving.
Curly sheep wool handbag sold at UrbanExposureStudio.com
The bluefaced Leicester evolved from a breeding scheme in the 18th Century from (you guessed it) the Leicester Longwool. It has curly and rather fine wool, and is one of the softest available. The curls are smaller and tighter than the original Leicester, and so its wool locks can be used on their own. The wool takes dye very easily, and can be spun or felted. This is a great versatile wool that adds a touch of class to your designs.
Another British longwool breed, the Lincoln is prized for its soft, curly wool and high luster. The curls can range from a soft crimp to incredibly tight curls. The natural fleece is a marbled gray color, and there is an amazing amount of variation within a single fleece. On the one hand, it seems a bit cruel to dye such a naturally beautiful wool, but on the other hand it creates the most amazing colors when dyed. Even just using a single, simple color can create intriguing ombres ranging from dark to light. This would be a great choice for natural, chic looking products, and the wool is ideal for felting or spinning.
This is one of the more expensive sheep’s wool on the market, due both to the high demand and the rearing process. Shepherds ideally wait two years before shearing in order to get the desired length and curl. It has a lovely wavy texture, and can be separated into locks that end with a curly tip. The wool is naturally white, and has a beautiful luster. Saying that, it takes dye very easily and will come out looking amazing. It’s a great choice for adding onto a design in its natural state, but can be spun too.
Suri Alpaca Wool
Unsurprisingly, alpaca wool has a completely different texture and appearance to sheep wool. Alpaca wool is usually white or brown, but there is a wide range of color variants. It might be harder to get hold of than sheep wool, but its popularity has been on the rise for many years now. Suri Alpaca wool is long and wavy; with less of an obvious curl that sheep wool. It’s incredibly soft, and takes color very well. This is another great wool to use in its natural state, but it’s also popular with spinners and felters.
You’d know if you’d ever seen a Wensleydale, especially if it hadn’t been sheared in a while. They look almost comical with long ringlets that look like dreadlocks. The wool is very dense and soft, and almost looks like crimped hair. It’s another pricey wool, but it’s worth it for the quality. Wensleydale sheep are naturally light brown, but the wool can be dyed. It looks amazing as wool locks, especially when teased out. It’s ideal for use on its own, but can also be used for craft projects such as doll and toy making.
Buying good quality wool can be difficult, and expensive. There are a few good websites you can use, but for some of the breeds you might have to consider shopping on overseas websites. Many of the breeds included here are British in origin, but have made their way across the world. If you prefer to shop local and support local, you’ll have to do a bit of research. You might also be limited by the breeds available, but it can be an acceptable sacrifice.
Working with wool can be time consuming, especially when using wool locks. If you plan on making your own roving or felt, this can take longer still. However, if you’re willing to invest the time you can create some amazing products.