The UK has more breeds of sheep than any other country in the world, with over sixty different pure breeds and many more half, cross and rare breeds.

Each breed of sheep produces its own distinct wool quality, each breed having its own story to tell. Our grading systems, within our Grade Depots around the UK, grade wool based upon both its style and characteristics.

These include the staple length, crimp, fineness (micron) and handle and lustre (sheen). Each grade number falls into six main groups: Fine, Medium, Cross, Lustre, Hill and Mountain.

This is one of the reasons why British breeds offer such significant benefits, including character and quality, for knitting wool.

In addition, we also separate a number of speciality breed wools with distinct characteristics. Including; Dorset, Jacob, Masham, Teeswater/Wensleydale, Lincoln, Shetland, Exmoor Horn, Hebridean and Herdwick.

Quality, softness and lustre

British wool is graded into seven main groups- fine, medium, cross, lustre, hill, mountain and naturally coloured.

Fine and lustre British wools are perfect for use in knitting yarns, ensuring comfort next to skin, warmth and beautiful drape.

Choice and versatility

British wool yarns are available in a wide range of textures and beautiful colours – some in natural undyed shades.

The choice also includes breed specific yarns with their own individual characteristics. British wool can be used in a single fibre yarn and also in various blended yarns with other types of natural and man-made fibres to allow a diverse range of properties and applications.


Excellent dye uptake

Wool absorbs and retains dyestuffs very well due to its ionised amino acid groups which create bonds with the dye molecules. Wool has a good affinity to acid and natural dyes.

The use of a lustrous breed can help exaggerate a bright, glossy yarn finish. Specialists talk about the naturally superior bloom of the shade within the wool during the dye process.

In the UK, lots of native breeds are also naturally coloured in beautiful hues of creams, blacks, browns and greys.

Retains shape and doesn’t wrinkle

Wool fibres have a spring-like structure which makes them extremely elastic. It can be flexed up to 20,000 times before breaking and its superior resilience means it returns back into its original shape every time.

This elasticity makes for great garment drape as well as garments that require a bit of flexibility

Natural, renewable and sustainable

British wool is 100% natural, renewable, biodegradable. Sheep in the UK grow between 1 and 3 kg of raw wool annually that must be sheared for the health of the animal.

Wool does not contribute to micro-pollution in the ocean or on the land. The advantages of buying local products are numerous – it helps us reduce our carbon footprint, boosts agriculture and supports our local economy.