Fleece Samples Graded by Oliver Henry
These graded fleece samples were given to Lynn Michael by Oliver Henry, a Shetland wool expert who has graded 80% of all wool on Shetland for the past 40 years.
When Garrett Ramsay met with Oliver Henry, Oliver said that grades 4 and 5 in the whites are not 1927 breed standard and until the last decade or so, there wasn't a market for them. So they made teddy bears and Shetland carpet with them. Colored fleeces are only graded 1, 2 or 3, with 3 being rough. White has five grades with 4 and 5 being rough. Graders also will grade one fleece and separate as needed into the different grades, so much of the rough grade is britch wool from finer grades.
Oliver commented that the finest fleece typically didn't get to the mill, because breeders kept it for hand spinning or to sell to hand spinners.