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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can Hardly Believe it...and Iris

I can hardly believe it! I've never experienced anything like this in my memory! It is March 31, and it's 71 degrees outside!! The meadowlarks are singing, there is a pleasant breeze, and last night, we heard the spring peepers (small frogs that sing a lovely spring chorus)!! Our local weatherman put up the statistics...NO snow measured as having fallen in the entire month of March! While that did not set a record, the statistic amazes everyone I talk to! Yes, we are very lucky this year in our pleasant weather. I actually have windows on the house opened up! On March 31st!

Meanwhile, I've been very busy spinning up an assortment of Shetland fleeces; ewes, rams, lambs and wethers. The colors have been such a joy to look at and as is typical of spinning Shetland, a joy to work with! Then, I realized, April is approaching! If I'm going to spin anything for myself and have time to knit something before the busy summer comes, I better get busy! So out came the fleece from my ewe, Iris. I spin her fleece every year, and sell the yarn. It is my best selling yarn. But last spring, the fleece was really, really nice. Since I don't get to save much of the wool I raise for myself, I decided I'd make a sweater out of Iris's wool this year. So after washing it, I carefully set it aside for the day to start spinning.

Her wool is dreamy to work with and spins up quickly. It is incredibly soft slipping through my fingers, especially when plying and it drafts like a dream. She grows an immensely long, super fine undercoat, with silkiness and fineness to her outer coat as well. Joy!!

The singles yarn already reveals the lovely lustre as it glows on the bobbin, capturing the distant light from the window. The color is very "soft", too.

So far, I have six or seven skeins spun, and I'm about a third of the way through the fiber. While I haven't measured the gauge of the yarn, my guess is it would fall in a light worsted. That is my favorite grist to spin. I use modified drafting techniques to create a half worsted/half woollen type yarn for softness and strength. It is very fun and relaxing to work on this, my favorite ewe! of my favorites! One of my many favorites! I really do love them all!!!

So I hope to get Iris's fleece all spun up this week, even though I have a non-spinning project to complete with a deadline (equally fun!) I already have a sweater pattern, or I might just use E. Swansan's (day later edit!!!! Giggle, giggle...can you believe I wrote that?? They were a very close mother/daughter team, so I guess it's okay...I doubt I'm the first one to mix up their names! Giggle, giggle...that should be E. Zimmerman...giggle giggle...) percentage system to design a sweater. I also have cute sheepy buttons if I decide to go that route.

I also thought some crocheted trim around the edges of the sweater with contrasting yarn might be pretty. You can do that with natural colored wool, as when washing, natural colors won't run or bleed.

Oh the joy of spinning!!

No comments:

Post a Comment