Devon Wensleydale

Devon Wensleydale

Quick Points

Flippity Felts Category – Soft, Smooth and Reliable

  • Darker, oatmeal toned natural white
  • Long staple, with wool that is very slippery and strong
  • Sheds a lot
  • Strong scent
  • Difficult to felt with
  • Leaves hole marks and creases

About the Wool

  • Micron – 30-36
  • Staple – 120mm
  • Handle – Soft Lustre

Available colours – Natural White (very oatmeal toned)

Currently I am unaware of any stockists who sell this fibre in its unblended form. If you know of any suppliers who sell this fibre please let me know in the comments!

First Impressions

Devon Wensleydale Close Up

The natural colour of this wool is certainly on the ‘dark oatmeal’ side of white, and it has a strong, pleasant sheepy smell. The wool, in its rope form, is thin and very soft to touch, but has lots of straggly bits and is shedding quite a lot.

The Ball Test

The Ball Test is my comparison test between the different core wools to help determine suitability for purpose (i.e. dry needle felting), versatility and speed.  I start off with approx. 10 inches of fibre and felt using a 36 gauge triangle needle for five minutes (recording my progress at both the 3 and 5 minute marks), then I spend another 5 minutes using a 38 gauge triangle, recording my results at the 10-minute mark.  If I feel that the ball is still unfinished at this point I continue until it is completed to my standards – a tight, firm, even ball that is relatively smooth and as lump-free as possible.

0-3 minutes, using a 36 triangle needle

Devon Wensleydale Ball Test – Step 1

I immediately get a strong resist using the 36 needle against this fibre, and a bit of a wrist cramp to boot! This is probably down to the slightly slippery, fibrous and tough nature of the wool – not necessarily the sort of thing you want when you’re felting though! I like the colour, but is it enough to distract from the fact that this fibre feels very silky? It’s hard to keep the fibres in place while I’m readying to felt them, bits pop out of place – it feels like I’m fighting it.  The wool felts small, which is what I’d expect from slippery, long-stapled fibre, and it’s not a complete ball at this point – there’s still a big tuft sticking out at one side but it’s actually surprisingly strong and sturdy on the other side, and quite tight (which is what I aim for when felting.) So, some pros and cons at this stage, but annoyingly there’s lots of shed on my mat, which isn’t endearing me to this fibre.

3-5 minutes, using a 36 triangle needle

Devon Wensleydale Ball Test part 2

Ugh, it’s a mess.  Lots of crease marks and folds, lots of hole marks, a loose and baggy ball, very scruffy. I’m not impressed with it so far – it feels like felting with flax.

5-10 minutes, using a 38 triangle needle (gave up at 10 minutes)

Devon Wensleydale Ball Test part 3

The 38 makes faster progress, although I don’t think it would have been at all effective any earlier in the proceedings.  The ball now shapes better, becomes firmer (although still with a looser outer shell) and doesn’t resist so much, but at 10 minutes there are still lots of hole marks, creases and the ball itself is still quite flat, although less fuzzy. I have to be honest – I gave up at this point – I didn’t feel like it would get substantially better and life’s too short!

In Summary


Would You Create a whole model using this wool?

No, I don’t think I would.

 Please note that different clips may produce wool that differs from the description given above.  All wool reviews are based on the quality of the clip I am using at the time of review.

Some photographs have been edited to ensure images represent the wool as true-to-life as possible, as apparently the ability to take accurate pictures of wool is not one of my strengths.