Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles

Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles! Our farm mission is to enjoy and promote the wonderful diversity of the Shetland breed by fully utilizing to the best of our ability all they have to offer historically. We believe the best preservation and management of this breed includes it's full spectrum of history. We encourage old and new shepherds alike to join in the fun by engaging in fiber arts, especially spinning and knitting, as this breed is so intimately linked with those aspects of the arts.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When it gets hot & humid...

...it's a good time for zzzzzzzz!
Wish we could!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Aquamarine Beautiful!

Another NEW color! Posie's Aquamarine!

Wheely Wooly Farm has a color for just about anyone!  With hundreds of skeins to choose from and a wide variety of colors, everyone is sure to find something that pleases!  Last week, we brought Sea Glass to the market for the first time, this week, Posie's Aquamarine!  What a lovely shade for summer knitting or crocheting, indeed.  Posie is a Claire lamb, and is a very popular seller.  

Also coming is more Pink Poodle, which sold out awhile back but is now available again.  See you at the market!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Jacketing Sheep

Wheely Wooly Farm proudly does NOT jacket sheep.  Why?
1. Sheep safety!!  You won't hear about the sheep that become entangled, trapped, injured or die from coats, because they are not nice things to hear.  Some shepherds have never have this happen, some do.  It does happen.  It won't happen here.
2.  Jacketed sheep drive up the price of wool for knitters/crocheters.  To properly fit a coat on a good wool producing sheep requires two to three changes of coat per clip (year).  Each change of coat is added labor.  Each time a new coat is put on, it has been washed in a washing machine. That means there are two to three, or more, coats PER sheep, at a cost of usually around $20. PER coat.    With the public being asked to conserve water usage in many areas as well as invest in water conserving appliances and fixtures, Wheely Wooly Farm cannot justify using valuable water for washing large pieces of greasy fabric from dozens or hundreds of sheep, two or three times a year.
3. Coats take wear and tear.  They are torn on fences, feeders, hooves, etc. and need repair (either hand sewing, patches, or heavy duty sewing machines and thread).  This takes labor.  Labor costs money.  The price of yarn/fiber goes up, and not for quality, but for work involved.
4.  The coats themselves cost money.  The labor to put them on, take them off, and keep them washed drives up prices.  And yet, you can still get inferior quality in wool.  Coats mat fibers.  Sheep can get chaffing around necklines or inner rear leg straps. Coats create dark, moist environments perfect for unwanted creatures to take up residence (some shepherds deal with this by using more chemicals...more labor and $).  Bits of hay still manage to wiggle under the fabric and/or thru holes.  Jackets do not guarantee perfect, beautiful fiber, but they do guarantee increased costs that get passed on to the yarn buyers or spinners.

Our farm yarns have bits of grass/hay in them.  Grass is not dangerous to either sheep, or people.  There are far worse things we are all exposed to in our environments that are far more dangerous.  You may or may not notice little bits falling out of the yarn from time to time.  We are proud of this!  We feel it is a measure of our efforts to bring you beautiful wool from sheep that have been raised as close to nature as you can get in our modern world!  Our prices are held down (which has upset some people), because we choose certain management options to raise high quality wool without coats. In our current falling economy, keeping costs down while producing high quality has been highly appreciated!  This has allowed people who are taking pay cuts, job losses, cut hours and more, to continue enjoying 100% Wheelspun Yarns from our farm, while the wealthy continue to support our management style that produces high quality, comfortable, responsive yarns.  What do we do?
1.  We do not feed hay in feeders.  Elevated hay is a huge source of mess in fleeces!  Sheep also rub their necks on the feeders, causing further loss of the best part of the fleece.  Instead, we keep our sheep moving, and feed off the cleanest ground we can find, using the spoke method.  Our parasite load has been highly manageable over nearly a decade of time, so we know this works!
2.  We do not shear all on one day in early spring.  Instead, we shear individual sheep when the fleece is at it's best for the spinning, at a time when it is best for the sheep.  This is way out of wack of how most flocks have been run here in the U.S., but is exceedingly common in areas overseas, where ALL of our sheep breeds have come from.
3.  We shear after rain.  Rainwater is heaven for fleeces!!  It is soft, and does an outstanding job of cleaning fleece!!    Sheep shake, causing bits of seeds or grass to fly out.  It's a self-cleaning mechanism, born out of nature.  Sheep prefer to be clean, and have fluffy fleeces.  They will keep their fleeces that way if given the right environment.  When you hear that farmers are so keen on weather, it's because how the weather goes dictates how farming goes!  Rain-cleaned fleeces are pure joy to shear, require very little water for washing afterwards, and are a dream to spin!  This translates into gorgeous yarns!
4.  Wheely Wooly Farm does not expect to get a top of the cake, gorgeous fleece off EVERY sheep, EVERY year.  This is unrealistic in sheep management.  Instead, we allow the sheep to live a natural life.  For example, if a ewe has lambs, we may or may not shear her before lambing, depending on several circumstances.  If it's best to leave her fleece with her, we will, knowing lambs will LOVE nesting on her back in the warm wool.

  Lamb contentment comes first here!  When the time is right later, we will shear the fleece off and compost it (yes, sheep's wool is 100% biodegradable).  The health and well-being of the ewe and her lambs comes first for us.  Despite this management style, we still produce many gorgeous, clean, silky fleeces for yarn!

We feel jacketing sheep increases danger to sheep, increases costs for consumers, and eliminates customers who'd also like to enjoy 100% Wheelspun Yarns straight from the farm.  The shepherds, sheep, and sheep dogs all work very hard to bring high quality yarns to knitters and crocheters.  Buyers of our yarns can rest assured that our farm practices sound management that has been proven over centuries of time, throughout the world.  And if a bit of grass lands on your knee while knitting...so what?  You can see that and know that someone cares.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

ClaireBear

ClaireBear

Meet ClaireBear.  She was made by the head shepherdess and owner of Wheely Wooly Farm, just for fun.  This soft stuffed bear is made from yarn provided by treasured ewe, Claire.  The eyes and nose are Shetland moorit scraps left over from another project, and are sewn on.   This little bear was a real pleasure to make!  Who knew making toys could be so fun?

All of Wheely Wooly Farm's 100% Wheelspun Yarns are great for knitting or crochet, and all are sold by sheep's name, in this case, Claire.  We mostly sell light worsted to worsted weight yarns because that is what you, the customers, have been telling us you want.  The number of colors we provide surprises even us, so you'll find hundreds of items to choose from in our online Farm Shop!  We also provide some bulky yarns in a variety of colors, for they are always popular as well.  If a yarn is bulky, it will say so on the label.

Patterns for toys are nearly everywhere and easy to find.  Try making a Wheelspun yarn toy this summer and join the fun!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Sheep Farm Mugs!!

You'll love these super fun mugs, which are now available!  Far from run-of-the-mill drinkware, these shiny, high quality mugs hold 11 oz. of your favorite hot or cold beverage and are only $5.99 a piece!  The logo is imprinted on both the front AND back of each mug!  Get one to use when working on your favorite project, or get a set for when friends come over for a project party!  After all, how many sheep farms offer great mugs along with 100% Wheelspun Yarns in colors and softness you love?  
 Click on our website (to the right), then click on Farm Shop to order.  Scroll down to Gifts, and we'll either send you a mug, or you can schedule pick up at the Saturday morning markets!

What a great way to wait out summer's heat...sipping and knitting (or crocheting)!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pretty NEW colors of Handmade Needles now available!

Wheely Wooly Farm

Be the first to pick from all the pretty NEW colors of Handmade Needles just added to our Farm Shop!  Click on our website link on the right side of this page.  Once on our website, you can learn more about our popular needles on the Handmade Needles page.  To get to our Farm Shop, click on any pink oval button to enter the store, or go straight to the store from here by clicking 
     

New this year!  Purchase your needles early to ensure you get the color you want, then arrange at check out to pick up your needles at the farm market in Appleton this Saturday!

Or you can have your pretty needles shipped to you!

Hurry!  Purchase a minimum of $25. by July 1, 2017 (that's day after tomorrow!) and get $5. off!

If you'd like to make a wrap, we've got you covered!  Pick up a Wrap Pattern, your yarn, and the needles to make it all happen because they are finally all available!  



Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's here! It's done! It's here!


The wait is over!  The long anticipated Wrap Pattern is finished and ready for you!  Based on what we hear from you, we think you will love it, for this is a one-of-a-kind pattern!
Look for the PURPLE 3-RING BINDER!

You won't believe what we've included just for you!  This pattern gives you seven variations to enjoy!  It starts with the body of the wrap made with our 100% Wheelspun Yarns, which any knitter, even beginners, can achieve.  Helpful tips are included to keep you on track as you work.  If you are an experienced knitter, this is your relaxing down time knitting!  We all need that, don't we? lol

After the body is finished, the pattern continues with the variations, some for knitters, some for crocheters.  Mix and match the fun variations to create the wrap of your own personal aspirations all with one pattern!  Change ideas and make another.  The possibilities are many!  Start knitting on it this summer for a lifetime piece that you'll be proud to wear, or make one for someone you love!

What else is here and done?  The Wrap Needles!!  We can hardly believe we finally have these done for you.  They are Size 13's with 15 " long shafts perfect for knitting the wraps!  There are many NEW colors to choose from, such as Purple Pizzazz and Hydrangea Pink.  Ker-knit the Frog was so popular, it sold out on the first day!  We are scrambling to make more...

To see the needles, head on over to our new website and click on the Handmade Needles page, or order a pair, along with the skeins for your wrap, from our new secure online shop!  The Wrap Pattern will be there soon hopefully, as a digital sale or hard copy.  For now, you can pick it up at the market any Saturday 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

You won't believe the next thing this busy shepherdess is already working on just for you...hopefully to be finished on time for Saturday's market!

P.S.  The goslings are MUCH larger now and they are the most charming chatterboxes we've ever known!