Look, there’s no need for lengthy rhetoric here – a top colour isn’t really some special category of wool like core or locks. You won’t find it advertised as such, and it’s entirely possible I have in fact made the term up myself – necessity is the mother of dragons invention! But a top colour is what it is – the layer of coloured wool you put on top of your core model to ‘colour it in’.
Top colours can be carded or tops or roving. They can be textured with nepps or noil or angelina fibre. They can be from any fibre-producing animal or plant, can be blended or varigated, dyed naturally or commercially, and they don’t even have to be dyed at all. This is the point where you can experiment with different colours and textures to produce different results.
There are a lot of different options available to use as top colours; some high quality, others less so. Choosing the right top colour can have an enormous impact on the end result of your project, and lower quality fibres can result in a less polished finish. They can be harder to work with, coarse and generally leave your work looking a bit tatty. Personally I would avoid anything produced by a company that seems to make all manner of craft items for all manner of crafts. These are the fibres produced for the ‘have a go’ crafter – someone who wants to give it a try without committing themselves, who’s keen to take up a new hobby but perhaps hasn’t looked into the materials available yet. And that’s not a criticism by any means – but there are many independent sellers or smaller, specialist businesses that can provide far superior materials, in a wider range, and often just as inexpensively (if not cheaper).
The top colour you choose will make all the difference to the end result.
Unlike the core wool reviews, where I focus specifically on the breed of sheep, some of these reviews will look at fibres produced by a particular seller; the beauty in buying from smaller suppliers is that many of them are artists in their own right and their gorgeously creative fibres will reflect this. It should also be said that as I live in England most of these reviews will relate to fibres readily available From UK sellers (many of whom, however, ship overseas).
Sheep Fibre Reviews
For un-dyed fibres see my Core Wool page
In some cases of commercially produced fibres the breed of sheep may be unknown (if indeed the fibres are produced from one breed). In these instances the reviews will be given under the general brand name (i.e. Trimits).
Bergschaf carded (coming soon)
Corriedale (coming soon)
Merino (coming soon)
NZ Carded Wool
Perle & Co carded fibres (coming soon)
Shetland dyed (coming soon)
Trimmits brand fibres (coming soon)
Blended top colours
Mohair (coming soon)