The postman is my friend. Today he left a box on my front porch which contains my first samples of ancient Viking age Gute sheep wool! It appears that the squeaky wheel does get the oil or in this case the wool!
It’s only a wee sample as it is going into winter in the Northern Hemisphere and not the time for shearing this ancient breed but when shearing time comes around again I am first off the rank to get some full fleeces for spinning and weaving!
The sample is much of the tougher outer fleece but I was so eager I couldn’t wait for the next shearing season. It reminds me of the Norwegian Spelsau wool having a quick look at it. Cant wait to have a play with it.
The lovely lady who I been in contact with has sent me lots of wonderful pictures of these amazing sheep and a web cam link to her paddock which works every now and then but I only remember to look when it is daytime here and night time in Sweden. Must try looking tonight to see if I can see the sheep in their paddock!
In the Baltic sea there is an island and that island is called Gotland.
It was the home of an ancient people called the Gutes.
Wikipedia tells me:
Because of Gotland’s central position in the Baltic Sea, from early on the Gutes became a nation of traders and merchants. The amount of silver treasures that have been found in Gotlandic soil during the Viking Age, surpasses that of all the other Swedish provinces counted together, which tells of a traders’ nation of indisputable rank among the Norse nations.The Gutes were the leading tradesmen in the Baltic sea, until the rise of the Hanseatic League.
The Gutes were both yeomen farmers and travelling merchants at the same time, so called farmenn. This was an exceptionally dangerous occupation during the Middle Ages, since the Baltic Sea was full of pirates. The Guteish farmenn always had be ready for battle. The division and organisation of the early Guteish society shows a nation constantly ready for war. The “Ram” seems to have been an early symbol for the Gutes, and is still seen on the Gotlandic coat of arms.
This Ram symbol is most likely of the native horned sheep on the island called The Gute (Swedish: Gutefår). See below.
Photo by Martin Olofsson
The Gute is the most primitive sheep breed native to Sweden. Thus, I can conclude that this wool was most likely worn in the Viking Age. If you are interested in spinning and weaving Viking Age cloth you probably want some of this wool.
Are you with me so far?
As time progressed to the 20th century, the islanders cross bred their Gute/Gutefar sheep with with Karakul and Romanov sheep during the 1920s and 30s. This resulted in the modern Gotland (Swedish: Gotlandsfår) breed.
Photo by PeterHasselbom
The Gotland, also called the Gotland Pelt (Swedish: Pälsfår), were named after the island in the Baltic Sea called Gotland that we started with. These are a modern breed of sheep descended through cross breeding from the Gute sheep. This fibre was worn by actors playing Hobbits in Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings Trilogy. If you want a groovy modern wool and want to spin and weave cloth for a magical elven cloak you probably want some of this wool.
I’m after Gute fleece for Viking living history, fibre purposes and if you could help me that would be very Gute!