To date most of my felting has been with the widely available merino fibre. It's very dependable easily available and comes in a wide range of colours. My current challenge is felting with different fibes in natural colours. What a range there is. I have barely touched the surface with my exploration into Shetland , Blue Faced Leicester and Herdwick. So I decided to do a little bit of research into the fibres, more to help me tell then apart than anything else.
Shetland has a slightly bigger diameter fibres ,than merino but slightly shorter fibres. In my limited experience they are both equally easy to felt, but Shetland is maybe a bit bouncier when it is felted. It comes in shades of brown , through to cream along with grey.
Blue faced Leicester a cross between a hexham and a swaledale sheep is lovely . Northumbria and Yorkshire mixed. It has a far wide fibre length but it's fibre diameter is similar to Shetland. Colours range from mid brown through to cream. It has a luster and a wave that the other fibres don't have. When felted it retains the waves in the felted item and it is lovely both as felt and as fibre.
Herd wick, although it has a place in my heart , due to my love of the English lake district, has what can only be described as bristles , not fibres., in mixed grey colours. . Good for keeping the sheep warm on the damp fells, but not so nice for felting. I have tried but I am yet to have a success. More suitable for carpets and insulation rather than felting I think.
So there is a new world for me to explore of textures and colours and I am only at the beginning. There is Mute, Suffolk, Norwegian, Romney , Jacobs , Gotland and much much more.
Here is arrange of half felts and fibres from Shetland , Blue faced Leicester and merino, soon to be converted in a big deluge felted project.