Posted by Zoe Fletcher on Monday, January 18, 2016

Derbyshire Gritstone


Heritage: The Derbyshire Gritstone sheep was first established in the Derbyshire Peak District in the 18th Century. They are one of the oldest known hill breeds, and were popular with farmers because of their ability to thrive on sparse land and in extreme weather conditions. Farmers commonly cross Derbyshire Gritstones’ with other hill breeds. The sheep are a large, hardy sheep with no horns. They have black hairless faces and dotted black and white legs.


Uses: The Derbyshire Gritstone has a soft to medium fleece handle, finer fleeces can be used in knitwear and yarns, and the coarser fleeces are commonly used in carpets.


Breed Society website:


Handle (How the fibres feel ranging from harsh to very soft, this can alter what you would use the fibres for): Soft/ Medium


Micron Count (How fine the fibres are, the finer the fibre the lower the count number, this can alter the fineness a fabric can achieve): 31-33


Staple Length (How long the fibres are on average, this can affect what spinning process can be used – woollen (shorter) and worsted (longer)): 8-10cm


Fleece Weight (How much, on average, a fleece weighs, this can affect decisions regarding quantities available as demand dictates price): 2-3kg


Yarn types: I have samples in 3ply DK weight, which has been woollen spun in Yorkshire using 100% British Derbyshire Gritstone fleece.



Zoe Grace Fletcher Currently undertaking a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University within the MIRIAD post-graduate department, I am beginning a practice based academic journey into British wool fibres and new technologies within knitwear design. Graduating with Distinction from a Masters in Fashion and the Environment at London College of Fashion, specialising in hand-knitting and the British Wool Industry, I have worked on a number of knitwear collections (personal and external companies), whilst freelancing and researching for a number of exciting projects. My work revolves around the idea of sustainable fashion from a knitted perspective and the different ways to achieve this incorporating the ideas of slow fashion into mainstream society. I love knitting. And wool. And double sided sticky tape.
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