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 28, 2009


We made it! This was a roller coaster Christmas for us! There were lots of things to look forward to, lots of family to visit, and plentyyyyyy of food, but there were also lots of scrooges milling about this year, too.

The biggest scrooge was the huge storm system that created havoc in our region for several days over Christmas. It started Wednesday night and lasted pretty much through the weekend. The roads became a mess and travel was delayed everywhere. On Christmas eve, we had freezing rain that was heavy and treacherous. By Christmas day, it was gusty, pouring rain and warm, with air temps rising to nearly 40 degrees, then back down FAST that evening! In about one hour's time the air temp dropped from mid thirties to 21 degrees. Our back door froze shut, the standing water became solid ice, and the house was coated with glistening rippled sheets and icicles! What a mess! The next day brought better control of the roads, but a few inches of snow kept the driving slow, annnndddddd of course, that is what we were doing this year...driving! Did I mention the fog? Heavy fog? Fog so thick you couldn't see the tail lights of the cars just in front of you? Fog so dense that speeds of 20 m.p.h was still guess work as to where the road was, all snow lines mailboxes or ditches to see...all flat, snowcovered landscape in the dark, thick fog?

We had some family flying in, which didn't go as planned due to the big storm last weekend on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., but every one made it ok after the whole family agreed to delay our gathering one day. It was so fun to see everyone and catch up, especially with two newly married couples and therefore, two new brides! There were also....let's see....four dogs along! The dogs were impressive! Everyone got along great and it was a wonderful day of catching up and eating too much.

Other gatherings and plans went great as well, but only after rescheduling one of those gatherings two times, until finally we were able to get together all day Sunday. I've never experienced such goofy weather at Christmas time like this before. Glad THAT part is over!

The other scrooges were a pesty cold being fought by some family members, and daily updates of burglary reports by a neighbor. In a way, I was grateful for the big storm, since even robbers don't like working in such weather!!
The scarf and socks (yes, more socks) were gifts. The socks are made out of the little ewe we showed in Jefferson this last fall, Sweetie. Sweetie won fifth place in the Senior Ewe class, and fourth place in Youth Showmanship. The yarn is very soft and warm! Natural colors have the most appealing look about them! The sock pattern is a basic one, and I knitted in some accent yarn around the cuffs. Surely nothing fancy, yet I love them!

The first picture above is of a requested ornament to be handmade in the shape of a duck! After shearing my ewe, Mona (whom you haven't met yet), I carded some of her wool with a peacock colored shredded mylar, then spun up the yarn. This gives the yarn the affect of being those beautiful black feathers with that beetle-green sheen you see on the Cayuga ducks. Since Cayuga's are what Lucky and Lucy are, I decided to make the duck ornament out of that yarn. I had to draw up my own pattern of a duck shape, then trace the cut out shape onto the burlap. Then I used a rug hook to pull the yarn onto the burlap in loops, creating the hooked rug look. I wish my camera showed off the ornament better, but it is hard to get a good shot of it.

Meanwhile, all our animals weathered out the storms effortlessly. Wooly Bear has not rammed anything since the blizzard, the chickens are all in the shed with a warming hut, and the horses stayed in their stalls, without complaint! You could hear the rain and ice on the roof and sides of the buildings, and the wind whipping frozen branches madly. The ewes were playful and leaped around a lot. They've been sooooo quiet lately! All during December, we hardly heard a peep...I mean...a baa out of them. After you learn about Mona, you'll learn how unusual that is!!! The barn is a cozy place to be...even if you're doing chores at a the dark...after driving icy, foggy roads.......after eating toooo much.....and toooo much coffee......

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