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.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Helping Hands Craft Fair

Yep! We've been busy! For the last two weeks, we've worked hard to get ready for the Helping Hands Craft Fair at Neenah High School. Our inventory was frighteningly low after the Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson back in September so I have been delighted to work on my wheel as much as possible. I was fortunate to find some beautiful Shetland fleeces for the making of more yarn. Then the washing of fleeces stalled out for awhile with all the rain. That's the one drawback of washing them outside! Anyway, the first one washed was from a registered Shetland ewe named MaryBay. I am floored with the loveliness of this fleece. It was not jacketed but it was so clean, it might as well have been!The fiber is long, and soooo soft! Her color could be described as fawn, but she's really light enough now to look white from a distance, with warm honey undertones. It's really lovely! I've only had the opportunity to spin two skeins so far, and I'm hoping they will be dry before Saturday! The fibers drafted into the grist so nicely the spinning was a dream. I didn't realize how fine I had spun it until it was time to ply. So I will sell this yarn as "Shetland Lace", not because it is lace weight (which is a varied and confusing term, depending on which part of the world you live in!), but because it is a 2-ply from a Shetland sheep fine enough and soft enough to be knitted up in a lace pattern (lace meaning delicate, weblike, intricate knitting, often with openings such as yarn overs). It's the light yarn in the pumpkin picture above.

I also spun some roving from Psalm 23 farm (again!). It's called Celtic Seas and is a blended Shetland yarn with mohair, glitz and silk noil. The colors are amazing...typical of Laura's talent. It's the blue yarn on the right in the pumpkin picture. The brown is Redwood, the soft Shetland ram who makes great winter sock yarn, and the black is Esther's lovely yarn, so soft with that hint of white to give it a very appealing rustic, outdoorsy look. The pumpkin in the picture is one of MANNNNY that we pulled out of our garden, and which are now either all around the chicken coop (you know, chickens need autumn decore, too Mom!), on the front porch railing, or all over the house! (yes, inside. gulp) The apples are from our two standard trees, a Wolf River, the other Golden Delicious. I'm pleased I managed to get a bunch of apples picked. Last, I did manage to get some applesauce canned and apple crisps made! Whew!

Holly has worked hard on knitting a doll scarf to sell in her Baa-tique, but wisely made the choice to concentrate on school first. (That means Mom has had to help create inventory for her.) She also designed her own "business card" for her Baa-tique with Dad's design assistance. She is thrilled to have cards of her very own, with her own design choices on them!! We are bringing three Angora luxury doll stoles (handspun from our own Angora bunny, Zinnia), and several other luxury stoles of different colors, some with glitz. She's very excited with her offerings!

We'll also be bringing small bags of various fleeces for handspinning, some washed, some not. There will be hand painted drop spindles as well. Hurry to our booth in the morning to get the two spindles painted in red and white, with Neenah Rockets on them!! Also, look for our scarf kits, our most popular seller! Get there early for the pick of autumn and winter colors!

So! Back to the Helping Hands Craft Fair! We are very excited to be returning for the second year. The fair has been coordinated by Spanish teacher, Shelley Aaholm, who wanted to find a way to replace a lost grant that assisted students with financial hardship. The booth rentals and admission fees will go to the students to help with this need. We are thankful for the many hours and hard work Shelley has put into organizing this event, and for the opportunity to help students in the Neenah community! Hope to see you there!

Lil' Rainbow-learn more about her in future posts!

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