Characteristics & History
Teeswaters have very similar wool to the Wensleydale. Teeswater sheep also originated in the UK and are named for the River Tees, an 85 miles long river which flows from Cross Fell (the highest summit in the Pennines) to the North Sea. Teeswater are a white large polled breed with a lustrous longwool fleece. They have unique facial markings of the head, not all but some including dark chocolate to black markings around the nose and eyes.
They have long, lustrous and shiny wool. The locks hang individually and do not clump. No kemp in their wool or dark fibers and you should find the fiber to be uniform throughout the fleece. We find that the Teeswater white is a bit warmer and creamer white than the cooler white of the Wensleydale white fibers. Teeswater fleece doesn't lend itself well to felting but does take dye beautifully. The locks can be spun (or woven) as locks to give texture or used unspun to make a fleece rug. Teeswater is a great weaving yarn and is exceptionally durable without being stiff or scratchy. It has a great source of texture in yarns, or for use in dolls’ hair. In knitting and crochet it drapes well and stays sleek and shiny while giving terrific stitch definition.
This breed is listed on the watch list of the Rare Breeds Trust in the UK, the country of its origin, and has recently been added as a rare breed on the Livestock Conservancy here in the USA.