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, December 14, 2009


"It's a secret!" That's what I find myself saying over and over these days! My knitting needles have been busy, but I cannot put pictures up of what I'm doing because it is all a secret, of course! Even the sheep are keeping the secrets! They know who donated fiber for what project, but they are not telling!

This is what's on my wheel today. It is very soft and has pretty winter colors...Shetland wool. Reminds me of those dusky, frosty winter sunsets when the sky at the eastern horizon fills with those beautiful pinky, dusky purples and greys as the light fades in the west.

Sophie finds the latest pile of fleece....again! How she finds that fleece so quick is amazing! What a great place to be in all the snow and cold....unless you're the spinner and need that

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last blog post either on the post, by email, or in person! So many of you recognized the importance of being truly qualified in the breeding selections of one of the most premier handspinning breeds of sheep in the world. Shepherds who are avid spinners and knitters/crocheters and who work frequently with fleeces make good breeding/buying/selling decisions, no matter the current trends. I don't know how one could make good decisions without that knowledge. In pretty much all other fields of work, we expect people to be qualified in their area. Here in America, we don't seem to apply that to sheep much, especially the Shetlands, who's wool is famous for high quality, durable, long-lasting garments. I think it has been easy to stray from good fleeces.

At Wheely Wooly Farm, we are breeding for fiber as our top priority. We will have fleeces that are soft, strong, and easy to handspin without complicated and expensive processing, no matter crimp or wave, without the need to blend in other expensive fibers for strength. Doing this creates an unforgetable, delightful, product that is ethreal to knit up and extremely comfortable to wear, and thus creates long lasting, treasured garments. That is the ultimate goal in my mind. My flock plan includes keeping sheep that have long and wavy lock structure and the "double coats". These fleeces have excellent value in a variety of ways and I just cannot imagine culling such sheep because they do not fit into one narrow window. They are Shetlands, and Shetland wool is so exceptionally different from other breeds! Diversity is what often draws people to Shetlands. Their diverse fleeces are sooo colorful, soooo beautiful, and sooo wonderful to knit up and wear!

Thank you, too, to all who visited our booth on Saturday! What fun it was to meet everyone and talk sheep, fiber, yarn, and favorite garments. The word I heard the most often seemed to be "warm"! People who wear wool are warm! What a great gift that is!

No comments:

Post a Comment