Sheep of the Week: East Friesian

Guess who got a package this week.

Yep. That would be me!

And in that package was a nice little Friesian fleece from Gretchen, of Gretchen’s Wool Mill. Yea!

Friesians are the Cadillac of milk sheep, and are also known for their prolificacy . You can read about more about them here.

I’d never worked with Friesian wool before,, so was mighty anxious to give it a spin (so to speak).

So, here is my experience so far-

The wool in it’s raw state:

Unwahed Fresian

Unwashed Fresian close

It ranges from about 3-4 inches in length. (Gretchen told me it’s usually a bit longer, but they sheared early this year.) Isn’t very greasy, and has a nice bit of crimp. This one is nice and clean,  with no veg to speak of.

Here it is after a bit of a wash-

Washed Fresian

Washed Fresian close

Bright white, and now you can see the luster. It “floofed” out quite a bit in the wash, but the tips remained intact, so it was fairly easy to sort it back out into locks and ditch any short bits.

Flick carded, spun, plied-

Fresian Test Spin

And swatched-

Fresian swatch

It’s a nice strong, sweater wool of medium fineness, I would say.  Has a nice bounce and body to it, and is lustrous, but not silky.

A very satisfying new wool experience.  Should be fun to play with.


Ps: And on a completely unrelated note, I wanted to share with any of you who have dogs, and who might ever have a need to use one of those horrible elizabethan collars for a post-surgical recuperation that THERE IS INDEED A BETTER OPTION.

Here is my poor sweet Bruno, stressed out and driving us all nuts with his icky plastic cone headgear:

Poor Stressed Bruno

And here is the same boy, content and relaxed in an inflatable ProCollar:

Content Bruno

Relaxed Bruno

Ahh. That’s better!

Denise out.


  1. juliet.....

    but you didn’t tell us why your sweet dog was in need of the hideous cone head gear? the wool is lovely and crimpy. I could literally touch it on my monitor.

    • sheepsclothing

      Hi Jody-
      Sorry to be so late in getting back to you-
      I haven’t worked with Finn, so I can’t really compare,, but I’ve heard its quite soft. (That’s another one I really should try, if I could find it around here…) The East Friesian I would describe as more “crisp” than “soft”. I expect it will be very bouncy, resilient and hard wearing.

  2. Kathy

    Hi, Denise,
    If you don’t mind my asking…what does the East Friesian fleece go for a pound?
    I loved the post! Even though we Shetland people love our great, soft fleeces, I know we all like to try other breeds as well.
    Thanks for letting me “visit”.

    Sheep Thrills Farm

    • sheepsclothing

      Thanks for your comment! I think I paid $3/pound, plus shipping and handling. At that price, I figure, it’s totally worth branching out and trying new things-

      • Kathy

        You are so right, Denise! I have received about 3 lbs. of a Friesian lamb fleece to try out – but the kind folks never set a price, stating just send what I thought it was worth. Wow, that’s an open-ended statement. I think it’ll be nice, but want to make sure I give them a “going rate” for it, too. I hate to tell them what I get for coated Shetland fleeces. 😉

  3. denise

    I just went and checked Gretchens website, and it turns out that I remembered wrong. It was $5 a pound. Sorry for the bum info before!


  4. Diane Olsen

    I am picking up for free 10 or 12 lbs of East Frisian wool on Mon. It was going to be burnt !!
    I will ply with one strand wool and the other mohair from my Angora goats.

    • sheepsclothing

      Nothing like free wool, eh? Hope it’s in good shape and fun to work with. Plying with mohair should give you an interesting effect- will add some fuzzy silkiness to the springy Friesan.

  5. Vanessa

    Thanks for the information in this post. I am researching sheep breeds for milking, but I also love wool, spinning, and knitting. You have helped me discover what an asset this breed is to the small farm!

    Woodland Croft

  6. Michael Price

    I have to agree with Vanessa here on the sheep breeds for milking and possible wool production, I have a small 5 acre homestead on which I raise Angora rabbits in my greenhouses, brilliant idea on using their Co2 ouput to enhance the environment, but I digress, I had been looking into milk sheep as an alternate income resource (Cheese and Soap) and was long in research about their wool quality, I came to many dead ends on sites about the EF’s Milking abilities and their breeding prolificacy but practically nothing on their wool quality until I stumbled on your site here. Thank you so much for branching out and offering such vivid information on your results. Keep up the good work and happy spinning!


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