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, August 26, 2009

Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies are like....

....handspun yarn! Warm chocolaty homemade cookies gooey fresh from the oven are so good! They are so different from packaged cookies from stores, hard, crispy and chemically-tasting. Handspun yarn is that way compared to machined yarn. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy machined yarn at appropriate times, such as when I made bunny puppet mittens for my child that needed to be machine washable and dryable at a moment's notice.
However, handspun yarn has a feel and liveliness you cannot get out of machined yarn. Handspun has life in it. It's cushier, bouncier, more responsive. If it's Shetland, it's so lightweight, even in a bulky weight. It has personality, character. Rather than being pushed from one needle to the other, it practically leaps! It is easy on your fingers, not needing pushing, and it doesn't squeak! I find I can knit longer with handspun, whereas I get fatigued sooner with other types of yarns. Just as gooey homemade cookies have a depth of deliciousness, so does handspun yarn. If you haven't had the opportunity to knit or crochet with handspun yarn, give it a try! I'm confident you won't be disappointed, but be ready for a new great feel!Here's another picture of little Wooly Bear (Woolchester). I LOVE his fleece! It would be called longish/wavy. It makes a different yarn than crimpy yarn makes. It is very clear, strong, warm, fine and soft and what was used in the original fair isle knitting. I have a button up sweater made in Shetland of this type of yarn, and it has been a staple in my wardrobe for nearly 10 years. It still looks newly made, with no pilling or fuzzing. It is timeless and always fits in with styles of the season. I've worn it in all seasons. THAT is a good buy!

Here's a baby chick update, taken a few days ago. If you look closely, you'll find four chicks...two in lower right with heads peeking out from under Mom (one black, one brown), one peeking out from her wing on the upper side, and the oldest one standing between her and the feeder. They are so fun! We give them tidbits of grass, clover, and dandelions to prepare them for foraging later when they are older. A non-foraging chicken is an expensive bird to feed, so we teach all our little chicks to forage. They love it! They love playing keep-away, where one will find a big piece, then peep and tear around with it, as if calling all the others to chase, and chase they do! GREAT for kids to see! These chicks are going to a wonderful home soon with children who will love them as much as we do.
In an earlier blog entry, I briefly showed how I wash my fleeces. Here is a picture of the screen panel I use for skirting, and drying a whole fleece. This is Iris's fleece just out of the bag...
...partially unrolled.....
...and spread out for final picking or skirting before going in the tub. I found it funny how clearly you can see how I sheared her upper tail wool, hanging down in this picture in the middle! I guess I got it all off in one nice piece! The two sides hanging down are her britch wool (outer hind legs). Her britch, being a beaver-coated Shetland, can get to 10 inches long or more in twelve months. I LOVE that!
Here she is before shearing, so you can compare. That britch wool is coarser than midside or neck wool. I love using it for socks and rug hooking with yarn. Um, don't know how to rotate the picture for you so you don't have to crane your neck to see.......

See you at the farmer's market Saturday!

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