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.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Students, Yarn, and gulp

This is one of my students. She learned how to spin from me by using the drop spindle DH and I made. Fun! We had made the drop spindle, then she painted it. She designed the coolest pattern on it so that when it's spinning, it looks colorful, like a top! Then she spun this yarn from a commercial ewe. After all that, she came back and we dyed it together with Kool aid! It was sooo fun to do all this with her! The yarn is on a little hanger because we had just finished dyeing it and it was wet and still dripping. She rode home on her bike with it dangling on the handlebars. :) What a great experience! Another student I had was an 11 year old boy who first attended one of my Fiber Fun on the Farm Days. He immediately wanted to learn how to spin! We sold him a drop spindle, and off he went! The next day, his family happened to pull into our driveway. He was in the back seat, with his spindle hanging from the hanger above the window...loaded with yarn! Fun! I couldn't believe it! He went on to learn knitting. His Grandmother had started him but he needed guidance. So between his Grandma and I, we got him, and then his little sister going! Fun! He carried on by getting some cotton yarn in green and gold...Green Bay Packers colors and knitted a dishcloth from a pattern I'd found! How cool is that!! He learned the knit stitch, yarn over and knit two together. It was a great experience! It all happened so fast, I don't have pictures. :(

This is a picture of the very first yarn I spun in the class I took. Sure looks goofy! The twist is all over the place, the drafting is...well...I don't think you could hardly call it drafting! The wheel I borrowed for this needed oiling, but no one caught that until the afternoon. So it kept giving me back ups and such, so I have little tails sticking out, too! It's fun to go back and look at this. By afternoon, the wheel got oiled, and I figured out how to draft, sort of!

The fleece I buy/raise for spinning and knitting are just that. We are not in it to sell lots of lambs, but to build our flock for fiber. My business is handspinning, and I sell beautiful handspun yarns. I've spun spotted fleeces (and they are lovely!..the ones I've spun anyway...Redwood in earlier blogs is spotted). But I spent extra time sorting colors and trying to blend the light and dark fibers into consistent yarn and skeins. (One spotted sheep I spun that was not Shetland, I didn't try so hard, I just spun whatever drafted for a lovely yarn! It was fun and sold well but most of that fiber was donated to 4-H kids.) I keep detailed records of all the fiber I buy, wash, and spin, sell. Selling dark yarn with a ewe's name on it, and selling light yarn with the same ewe's name on it confused my customers (we love visiting with them and sharing our experiences of the sheep with them). Between the time it took me to blend/sort the colors, and properly label the yarn for customers, I decided to stick with mainly solid colors (if you could say a fleece is all really solid colored!) A few weeks ago, I was spinning a gulmoget (that is the grey yarn Sophie my kitty is sleeping in on the rocker in my blog post back in August (?), and the grey socks in an Oct. blog), then a solid fawn. I sure hope people don't think I'm making an opinion or statement about that in my earlier blog post about spotted sheep!

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