This photo shows an unrelated het-grey ewe in the background, and a family trio up front. The center ewe is Sheltering Pines Dolce. She is emsket. Her entire fleece is uniformly modified. She was considered Iset until she was about 2 years old, though. I actually think she is an Emsket Iset. On the left is her black daughter, Boston Lake Delyth. Delyth has been sheared once. She had a rare light fiber here and there. But they were few and far between. I feel her color so far is a very dark cool black. On the right is Delyth's twin, Dova. She is obviously Iset. She still appears dark black at the root level, except for the large percentage of lighter, longer fibers.
Delyth and Dova are not modified. They each carry a modified gene from their dam, but their fiber color is still black. Their sire, Kimberwood Kavan, is the ram that has the faintest hue of lightening on his shoulder. I was not aware of these fibers until his second shear.
This ewe is Windswept Northwind. Her black '07 daughter, Raimin, is behind her. I consider her Iset.
I've heard some breeders comment that Iset will become a dominant trait in the flock if it is not controlled. But I want to know what it is I'm working with. If I know, I can breed for it or breed away from it. And hopefully not by chance. Since I understand Ag, I can control it in my flock. But Iset is not clearly defined yet. And yet it seems to have a stigma. Sometimes breeders proudly announce "Absolutely NO Iset fibers!" when they talk about fleeces. Celebrating that much over the lack of Iset fibers seems to set a certain tone for the reigning attitude toward Iset. I'll admit, the iset fibers in my fleeces don't feel as soft as the undercoat does. And most breeders and spinners want softness in a fleece regardless of the color, pattern, or length of staple. But Iset isn't a fault or a flaw. It just isn't overly popular... sometimes...in quantity... Maybe it's undervalued? Maybe it's not understood very well? Maybe Iset's mystery makes it a bit of a nuisance? Why do some sheep go Iset and some sheep don't? I think that is a question that could be answered with time and attention. Hopefully I have enough of both to satisfy some of my own curiosity.