Icelandic sheep have a special two-part coat. They look a bit like walking balls of wool!
Thel, a soft inner layer, acts to keep the sheep warm and cozy – like long underwear for sheep!
Thel fibers are soft and short. Thel is used to make baby garments.
Tog, a course outer layer, acts like a jacket – it is water repellent and the fibers are longer and stronger. Tog is used to make rugs and industrial products.
The Icelandic sheep hasn’t been cross-bred, and is very close to the original genetic stock from the Viking period.
Illustrated images of sheep for the Tapestry at the Textile Center.