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, May 24, 2010


Add ImageThe bridal wreath bushes are in full bloom around Wheely Wooly Farm. Each year, whatever the weather, they load up with blossoms and bloom away. This year, they are quite early! There is a lovely bush on each side of the front porch, making the porch a protected and secret space.
The pretty little green leaves, along with the white flowers, have given our farm it's theme color. This goes along with the beautiful white lilac planted on the corner of the house. Since the house is white with green shutters, I think we have a theme! An old-fashioned farm house, with old-fashioned shrubs in front, planted decades and decades ago by some unknown hardworking dairy farmer.
The porch has Palladian symmetry along the front. It just doesn't seem right to have such balance, and only one I hung a star on each side of the front door. There.
My favorite hen loves to snatch up bugs along our lush green lawn. We call her Henny Penny, because I have two of these outstanding Australorp hens, and they look so much alike, I have to scrutinize their combs to tell who's who. So we call them Henny Penny. (One is Henny, the other is Penny, but they don't know that.)
I'd love to spend more time out here, watching Henny Penny peck around in the grass, while the breeze cools me off after a round of hard work, maybe sipping a lemonade...but who has time for that?!? (giggle, giggle) I've got sheep to shear!

This is Lil' Rainbow, whom I've written about in previous blogs. She is an iset Shetland ewe of very pleasant and sweet temperment, unless she sees a lamb she wants to keep for herself (!)
I cannot wait to spin her fleece! I snipped a few "test locks" to wash, spin and knit up. I was extremely pleased with the results, so I cannot wait to get more yarn from her fleece! Off the fleece came, while she was chewing her cud. Poof! Done.
Ok...not really! But it is fun to think it's that easy! :) She was actually pretty easy to shear, and stood very nicely for me. First thing I noticed is that, well, she is not exactly starving!I took her fleece off in two big pieces with sides intact head to tail. It is pleasantly soft. I was expecting coarser! I love these surprises!Underneath, she was very clean. I pretty much figured it would be, but it's always nice to find this underside clean. It will be a joy to work with this fiber. It took me only a couple of minutes to skirt the fleece and it went straight into the wash. It's now drying.
So I'll end with Honey's yarn. This is a a 2-ply, it will be laceweight...probably 20 wpi. I now have eight ounces of this 2-ply spun up. It is very easy to spin, and a pleasure to work with! Shetlands are truly an amazing breed! I'm hooked!

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