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The history of Faroese wool

If you have ever visited The Faroe Islands, you know that sheep outnumber humans on the beautiful islands located in the North Atlantic.

The islands are named after the sheep, the Viking settlers found when they first sailed there, the name deriving from ‘Fær’ an old Norse word for sheep.

The lush green mountains are home for about 70,000 mother sheep, the human population counts approximately 50,000.

Watch this beautiful film made by The Wool Islands, which explains the history of sheep and wool on the islands.

What to do with the wool?

Most sheep on The Faroe Islands are bred for their meat. But with sheep comes wool. The wool of the Faroese sheep is quite coarse and as such not as soft as the alpaca or merino wool normally used for knitwear. Of course, for centuries this wool has been used for knitwear, but as demands for very soft wool has risen around the world, the demand for this type of wool has decreased.

So if the demand for the Faroese wool is not there, what to do with the Faroese wool? Unfortunately a lot of it is burnt. In this series, we explore the Faroese wool traditions and what to do with the Faroese wool.