About Aragon Yarns
Aragon Yarns was set up in 2006 by Hugh, Pauline and their daughter Katie and is run by Pauline and Katie. Hugh and Pauline own Aragon Farm and the flock of sheep which provide fleeces for Aragon Yarns. Pauline does all the pack and dispatch, Katie does the blogging and shows. We always love to hear from you guys, so please get in touch, join our Ravelry group or like our Facebook page.
The sheep which provide the wool for Aragon Yarns are Romneys, otherwise known as Kents, which is an ancient breed with its origins in Romney Marsh. Romney Marsh in an area in the south of Kent in South East England which juts out into the English channel.
We have been developing our flock of Romney sheep for 30 years to improve various aspects of the breed. This has been proven by many wins in competition at shows and sales. Hugh Skinner (who owns the farm with his wife Pauline) is also a vet, so the welfare standards on the farm are very high. We work hard to have all our sheep very healthy, and this has meant we have won the breed flock competition in recent years.
Romneys are a longwool breed, and are among the breeds sought after by spinners. The sheep are shorn in May to July, or in January if they are ewes lambing early in the barn. It takes a year for a sheep to grow a full fleece, and then each fibre is about 4 inches long. The wool fibres are of medium micron count (thickness) which means Romney is a very versatile wool. It also has a good lustre, which gives an attractive sheen to the yarn.
It takes a shearer a couple of minutes to shear the sheep, using electric clippers similar to those the hairdresser uses. The fleece weighs around 2kg from a 4-month old lamb and 4.5kg from a fully grown ewe. The fleeces are rolled up and put into large sacks called wool sheets, which take around 20 fleeces each.
The fleeces are then compressed into large square bales which weigh around 300kg, and sent to be washed. Wool straight from a sheep is very greasy as it contains high levels of lanolin, and is likely to also contain other matter like dirt, twigs and straw that has got caught up in the sheep's fleece. The process of washing is known as 'scouring'. Our fleeces are sent to Biella in northern Italy where they are carefully washed in spring water from the Alps. Once it is washed and dried, the wool is carded and combed so that all the fibres lie in the same direction. The wool is formed into a long sausage called a top or a sliver, and then spun into yarn.
Depending on the finish of the yarn required, the wool can be dyed at the top stage, or after it has been spun in the hank stage. The hanks are then wound into balls and labelled. Our colours are inspired by the farm, as you can see by their names.
Kent, TN17 2AB
Tel: +44 1580 714400 Mob: 07879 475882