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Wool Yarn for Fly Tying

Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift - #290 Oyster

I have some fly patterns that call for wool yarn in the material list. However, it seems that many online fly shops carry a rather limited selection of colors or else don’t stock wool yarn at all. Craft stores have literally hundreds of colors but you are stuck with buying a ball that has 100 or 200 yards in it. Also, you have to decide what size yarn to buy from the myriad of choices and the knitting jargon they use is beyond comprehension for a fly fisherman. So what to do?

Enter Classic Fly Tying! I have opened up a new product line for wool yarn. I bought a few giant balls of yarn and repackaged them onto 5-yard cards. It’s the perfect size for your tying bench because it comes in packs similar to other carded fly tying materials such as Antron yarn, polypropylene yarn, and chenille.

Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift

As far as the type of wool yarn goes, I offer the most popular brand – Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. It’s a lightweight 100% wool yarn and comes in some really great colors. I currently have it available in Oyster, Salmon, Heron and Ivy. You can find them in the Fly Tying Materials section of my online store.

I’ll be adding a few more colors soon. Right now I’m looking at adding more colors such as Buttercup, Tangerine, Cashew and Lime. Let me know if you would like another color and I’ll take a look.

These colors look great on nymphs and scuds! I’ll be demonstrating the “Tellico Nymph” fly pattern, from my Classic Nymph Collection #1, using some of these colors at the upcoming Sowbug Roundup.

5×7 Classic Nymph Collection #1 (black)
Tellico Nymph
Tellico Nymph a southern classic from the Tellico River of TN and NC in the 1940’s

Incidentally, Jamieson’s #290 Oyster is the yarn of choice for the “Utah Killer Bug” fly pattern.

Patons Classic

Patons Classic is another brand of yarn I have come across although it’s quite a bit thicker than Jamieson’s. Patons Classic is a “4-Medium” size yarn and 3-ply where as Jamieson’s is a “1-Super Fine” size yarn and only 2-ply, although it’s fairly easy to pull out one strand. Currently I have two stock colors.

Experimenting with Dye

Some time ago, I experimented with dye on fly tying materials. I needed some Bright Yellow and Scarlet hackle that I didn’t have so I colored some pieces of white rooster hackle and hen hackle. While I was at it, I dyed some lengths of Patons Classic yarn in the color Winter White. Here are the yarns that resulted from my experiment.

The whole process went extremely well except for the bright yellow rooster hackle that slipped down the drain while I was rinsing it!

Happy tying … with wool yarn!

2 thoughts on “Wool Yarn for Fly Tying

  1. I’ve been using the shetlands yarn for around a year and it’s great stuff. over 200 colors and it is so buggy. Very versatile stuff for wet flies and nymphs. The oyster color is fantastic. Some other favorites are shaela moorit, paprika, grouse, scotch broom, wren, burnt umber and leprechaun. Endless possibilities!

    1. Thanks for the color suggestions! I saw that another Tenkara tyer was using Burnt Umber so that’s a consensus. Not sure about shaela moorit since I know I can’t even pronounce it right …

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