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.

Sunday, January 24, 2010 could I title this...

Here are the little crocheted flowers I've been making, and I can't stop! They are so easy, fast and fun! The black (at 4:00) is a remnant singles from Esther, the grey is Icelandic from a 4 oz. ball I bought in Jefferson, the brown under the rose is Gwendolyn 2-ply, the rose is leftover singles from roving, the brownish at 11:00 is an unknown fiber 2-ply found when emptying out my stash. I have many, many more. They are great for embellishments on knitting for clothing, hats, bags, slippers, scarves, lap blankets, or anything. You can just sew them on with either yarn or a strong, matching thread. Or you can felt them!

It's always fun to dye up a small batch of yarn, too. This is Sweetie's wool in pink drink mix. I use drink mix, especially in winter when the house is closed up, because I'm HOPING it is safer. Plus, it's fun for kids. I also worked with my knitting students this week on two separate days. It is soooo rewarding to get new, worried knitters over the start hump and going on the needles! Our weather has been above freezing and the roads have can I put it after being buried up to our ears in snow last year....blissful?!? So it has been easy to go where ever you want. You know, a sort of January thaw, where there is a hint of release in the air and the birds are singing everywhere? The breeze has been refreshing and the trickling water is music to my ears! Today, we found ten eggs from our ten hens.

I've also been catching up on some knitting I wanted to try out, and some new techniques I've been wanting to practice. Big problem...when you sell your yarn, what do you knit with???? Good thing I reserved the rest of Sweetie, and Iris for my own family. (Actually, I saved Miss Mona, too!) DH has a new pair of socks to wear, and he's been bringing up sweater patterns lately! Hummm....ok! Sounds fun! Since he's asking for a sweater, we can plan what it looks like together! Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system will be a fun application here....

It also makes me feel really good that some shepherds out there are trying their hands at spinning and knitting and cleaning out their piles and piles of old fleeces. I really wish all of you well in your efforts, and I hope you'll like it enough to grow in your skill. I was hoping to promote this critical shepherd's know what your producing... in time but then the onslaught of criticism I received by a small group of breeders who don't like Wooly Bear's fleece came! Oh Boy!! Nobody even knew me then! I think they were surprised at the chomp in my response! I may not win any popularity contests right now by the promotion of spinning and knitting amongst this group and on my blog, nor for the promotion of excellent soft, fine, long, easy to spin and knit fleeces like Wooly Bear has, but I do think my efforts will bring added credibility to American shepherds in the long run when everyone cools down and starts enjoying their newfound work and making more informed choices in their sheep. That credibility was sorely needed in the Shetland breed here in the USA, mainly in the Midwest. With new people getting started in fiber arts, I'm confident there will be changes down the road of what people breed for, as they'll have a better idea of what they are producing, and what makes sense historically on the animal. All the micron gibberish will fade away, and shepherds will realize handle is so much more important in defining this handspinning breed. Maybe these two things, promotion of credibility in American shepherds, and the understanding of handle will end up being my legacy. And everyone will remember the little black ram that started it all...


  1. Yup. Its ALL because of your black ram. Impressive! You single handedly changed the breed!

    Margarie in WI

  2. OK, I can't keep quiet any longer. I'm going to have to stay Anonymous on this one, because I'm about to offend some people.

    The idiotic comments I see sometimes are just driving me crazy! They don't actually respond in an intelligent way to anything that WAS SAID! Instead, they seem to be trying to twist what was said into something ELSE to start an argument! I used to read these things and look at the pictures because it was a fun, relaxing ESCAPE from life's stresses and tension. Why must some of you turn fun, friendly pictures and talk about the world's cutest breed of sheep into constant bickering??

    Margarie, here, is a perfect example: I don't see anything here AT ALL about "changing the breed," let alone "singlehandedly"! If you MUST disagree with something that WAS said, can't you just say so in a decent way? Or do you just get your kicks from trying to start trouble? Were you, by chance, the kind of child that would bug other kids until they got mad, and then go tattle on them as soon as they smacked you for it?

    I don't mean to pick on Margarie's comment to finally vent about this, since she's certainly not the worst offender. Try as you might, Margarie, you have a ways to go before you match the level of Michelle. I have never seen anyone SO compelled to comment on EVERY point made by ANYBODY on ANY blog, yet make so little sense! I have never in my life found anybody who can so consistently give their 2 cents, and require change back!

    Sorry, Amy, for picking your blog to finally vent on, but your blog seems to be where a lot of this stuff happens. Perhaps you bring it on yourself to some extent, though I honestly can't say I disagree with many of your actual points. Besides, I don't want to slam the owner of the blog too much, because I don't want you to delete this comment before it can be read by the people who really need to read it! Trouble is, I'm afraid that most will think I must mean someone else!

    Finally: Don't you all think we should be working TOGETHER to promote our chosen breed, rather than fighting amongst ourselves all the time? I fear that all of this @#%^* is driving people away, and hurting the value of ALL our sheep in the process!

  3. THANK YOU! My eyes are on the future in hopes of restoring family fun in the responsible promotion and enjoyment of this breed.

    Please see my most recent blog entry, titled "Shetland Showcase". The Shetland Showcase might bring the transparency we need here in the Midwest, and become the very tool to get the job done! Amy

  4. And THANK YOU for pointing out that favorite tactic to twist and confuse! It is a heavily used tactic. Bringing out lost Handbooks and Standards will clarify that I'm not projecting personal ideas, but rather focusing on what was given to us so long ago... Amy