New York Lincoln Longwool Sheep! Spinning, Natural Dyeing & Knitting

Josie, Lincoln Longwool Sheep, Photo by Emmaline Long
Josie, Lincoln Longwool Sheep, Photo by Emmaline Long

I recently began to spin and dye with longwool from the Orchard View Lincoln Longwool farm in New York. I love the length and luster of the fibers! Below are some of my knitted natural dye samples. I am currently taking a Natural Dye class and was able to dip my hand-spun yarns into indigo, hopi sunflower, concord grape, and eucalyptus dyepots. The lincoln longwool absorbs the natural colorants very well and the knitted swatches have a beautiful texture. The swatches are a stockinette stitch, the typical stitch for sweaters, hats, and socks. I think lincoln longwool fibers/ knitwear would be great for the winter as a second layer sweater. As a hat, it seems like the fabric would be durable and can provide a lot of warmth!

Lincoln Longwool Swatches and Dyeing, 2015
Lincoln Longwool Swatches and Dyeing, 2015

Apparel Design Professor Denise Green launched a crowdfunding campaign to expand the natural dye garden on campus. If you would like to support it, please go here. Any donation is greatly appreciated 🙂 

Emmaline Long is the fiber farmer of Orchard View Lincoln Longwool Farm (and also Cornell alumni!). She was featured on the most recent Woolful Podcast. It was great to hear about her knowledge and love for the Lincoln Longwool sheep. I’m glad she was featured, especially since she raises sheep that are currently considered a rare and threatened breed according to the Livestock Conservancy. Emma emphasized that she is a “fiber agvocate” and enjoys sharing knowledge about her sheep. She highlighted her involvement in New York Agricultural Literacy Week that featured the book “Weaving the Rainbow” in March 2015, and her leadership role in the National Lincoln Sheep Breeders Association.

Even though Emma doesn’t see herself as an entrepreneur since she is not making sustainable profits from her sheep and fiber business, I’ve always considered her to be a fiber entrepreneur, the fiber farm business is just in its initial stages. She is raising a unique breed of sheep, and helping re-define what lincoln longwool is in the 21st century. Longwools have historically been used for carpets or rugs since they are coarse fibers; however, as I indicated above, there are also other applications for the lincoln wool depending on the fabric structure. I look forward to working more with lincoln longwool!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Emmaline says:

    Helen, this looks amazing!! Natural dying is something I’ve be dying (haha…) to try and just haven’t had the time. Glad to know my Lincoln fleece will work when I eventually learn. Thanks for the great write up about my farm- I really appreciate it!

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