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.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grand Champion Ram!

What a weekend we've had! The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival was held this weekend in Jefferson, Wisconsin. We've attended for a few years, taking classes and spending all our spare cash on all kinds of fleece, roving, and yarn. However, we've never taken our own sheep. This year we did!
The main goal was to give our seven year old daughter, Holly, an opportunity to gain show experience. She wanted to take the purebred Shetland ewe (Sweetie-see prior blogs) we gave her into the youth showmanship class. So that meant we needed to take at least one other sheep along. We decided on our little ram lamb, Wooly Bear (see prior blog entries) since he has such a nice fleece and great conformation, plus his horns are beautiful and pristine! We also wanted to take our booth along to sell yarn. After making all the plans and gaining the approval, off we went!

We set up early Saturday morning in the sheep barn where the show was to be held. The sheep went into pens across the walkway from our booth. It was a great set-up that I have been dreaming about for a long time! Our booth drew attention right away! People raved about the handspun yarns, but the biggest attraction was definitely Holly's Baa-tique!

We had come up with the idea less than two weeks prior to the festival! We thought, wouldn't it be neat if Holly had a way to sell the doll and toy scarves she knits? She puts them up for display only in our booth at other why not make some extras to sell? People are always asking! So under great time crunch (!) we built a miniature "shop"! It has windows, skylights, a stained and varnished hardwood floor, and doll house furniture! I didn't have a nice picture for over the fireplace, then the idea of putting a pic up of Holly and Sweetie came up. So cute! I had to knit some of the scarves for her since, being only seven years old, she couldn't knit fast enough to have enough inventory on time! It was a HIT! She not only drew customers, but answered countless questions about sheep, yarn, fiber, and dyeing! AND she sold several scarves and sheep!!!! She also placed fourth (out of eight kids) in the youth showmanship...her first time ever in the ring! The three kids who placed higher are very experienced, some show at nationals and are very good so we were very happy! It is important to note that Holly halter-trained her ewe under our guidance and they did soooo good together!

Then I went into the ram lamb class with Wooly Bear.

I was soooo nervous! Other people competing were from surrounding states, and some have competed much more than me, and have bred sheep for awhile. I really didn't think I'd place, but I knew Wooly Bear was bright and is a great example of the breed standard! He was so great in the ring, and was really looking to me for comfort, but did an outstanding job of showing off his halter skills! When the judge placed us in first, I was in total disbelief!!! Me?!??!!!!!! We then went on to win the Grand Champion Ram!!!! What an amazing day!
Afterwards, we were swarmed with questions and everyone wanted to see him! Many people wanted to take pictures of him, and one lady asked if she could get a picture with her granddaughter standing next to him! The rest of the day is a blur! Our booth became very busy!

Thank you to all our customers who visited our booth and asked questions! It was really nice to meet all of you! It was nice to meet other Shetland breeders as well, such as Nancy of Bluff Country Shetlands! And to those Moms who are eager to get their kids knitting, we wish you well and offer all the encouragement and cheer we can! Hope to see all of you at next year's festival!


  1. congratulations to your daughter, your sheep and yourself for your wins and placings - i love the Holly Baa-tique that you made its so cute!

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog through Laura's (Matthews) blog. Thank you so much for stopping to talk to us on Sunday at the Festival. It was very nice to learn that your champion ram is a son of one of our rams! And after you left, I kicked myself because I forgot to ask your names or your farm name! Again, very nice to meet you and congratulations!

  3. Thanks for the congrats! We hope to install window boxes and wallpaper before the next event in a couple weeks. :) And Lael, Wooly Bear wouldn't be what he is without the thoughtful breeding of someone who had Shetlands before us! When I saw Wooly's sire, I nearly fell over!

  4. Congrats again on your ram! It was nice to see you and Holly at the festival. She knows a lot about sheep already and acted so grown up when I talked to her!