Fiber Files: BFL

image c/o HennrySeifert on Wikimedia Commons. Edits have been made.

Today, we’re back with a new installment in the Fiber Files! Fiber Files are a new series here where we delve into the world of different yarn fibers, where they come from, and how to best use them in your makes! Today, we’re starting with a popular breed of sheep: BFL.

BFL is short for Bluefaced Leicester (pronounced like “lester”). The name comes from the breed’s appearance: they have white facial hair over black skin, so their faces appear blue. The breed originated in Leicestershire County in England (hence the second part of the name) but has grown in worldwide popularity since the mid-1900s.

BFL ewe and her lambs

image c/o Magic Foundry on Wikimedia Commons

Qualities of BFL

BFL sheep are usually white and the staple length of their wool is 3”-6”, which makes BFL a longwool. For knitters, that means that BFL wool is incredibly durable. BFL wool is also known for being rather soft. It’s not as soft as merino wool but it is certainly much finer than most other English breeds, like Shetland sheep. It’s certainly soft enough to wear next to your skin and when you combine that with its durability, BFL is a great option for knitters!

Knitters also love BFL yarn because it dyes very well. Colors are vibrant and speckles really pop on a BFL base.

Closeup of BFL Wool

image c/o BlueLeicester on Wikimedia Commons

How to Use BFL

BFL wool is ideal for projects that you will wear next to your skin but also need to be soft enough not to itch. Socks are an excellent use for BFL, particularly if it’s blended with Nylon (like Colorful Eclectic’s Bliss Sock). They will be warm and hold up to wear and tear!

Using BFL yarn in winter hats and mittens is great, too, because that longwool durability helps block wind from seeping between the stitches.

Care of BFL

As with any wool, 100% untreated BFL fibers will felt. Handwash in cold water and lay flat to dry.

Colorful Eclectic’s Bliss Base is 75% Superwash BFL and 25% Nylon, so it’s safe to run through the delicate cycle on your washer. It's an easy way to get some of this wonderful fiber in your knitting diet!

For a limited time, all Bliss Sock is 20% off in the shop! Head over now and get some to keep your toes toasty this winter. 

Have you made anything with BFL? What other fibers do you want to know more about? Pop your questions in the comments!

Sources for this post:

  • The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius.
  • Breezy Meadows Farm, Bedminster PA. www.breezymeadowsfarm.com/bluefaced-leicesters