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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The glorious, bright leaves have swirled and fallen...and blown away (giggle, giggle). The owls call back and forth every night. The sheep have become so quiet that I have to look to be sure they are still there...content and friendly, waiting for a scratch or a pet, chewing their cud. The high winds we've had recently blew every leaf off the raspberry canes and they became bare overnight, much to the chicken's disappointment!! Wooly Bear delightedly munched on his first pumpkin of the season. A terrible thing happened on Wheely Wooly Farm this year. In all the busyness of spring, lambs, new garden, travel, and yarn, I didn't get my pumpkin seed in!!!! Disaster! I feel like I've let my sheep down!!!!!! I've been dreading how I would break the news to Wooly Bear all summer....really....I'm serious. What was I gonna do? He loves those pumpkins so much.

So I bought (gaspppp!) one pumpkin to use for display. I figured I'd give Wooly at least one pumpkin, even if I had to pay (gaspppp) for it. It softened early on the top near the stem, so he got that one this afternoon....what a delight! The sound of the pumpkin hitting the ground made his eyes open wide with pure happiness! He is such a great ram! We really enjoy having him around! I worried though...would he let his ram lambs have some? He did! :) No hits:) Life is good. Today, a neighbor said the sheep could have their leftover pumpkin bounty. It's a GREAT day!

So we have been soooooooo busy therefore, I have no pictures for you! Soon I'll try to put up Wooly Bear enjoying his pumpkin last case you missed it. It's become a farm favorite photo. (understatement.)

So the wheel is turning and the needles are klicking A LOT...yet in all my tiredness, I cannot keep my eyes off anything to do with spinning and knitting. I finally found a copy of Mary Thomas's book...on my list for some time now but I never got around to getting myself a copy until now. Excellent writings about Shetland sheep! Long and fine! Wavy! Soft! Yep! That's my sheep! :) Excellent writings about knitting and garment construction! This author is quoted so often by excellent knitwear designers as THE book of knowledge that changed their knitting lives from ho-hum to really mastering the techniques. What a great book! What a joy to read! Especially the part about Shetland children learning to knit, and learning the rhythm of knitting 200-ish stitches per minute! She writes about mechanization of knitting and garment making...and the strongholds of the handspinning/handknitting peoples of the Shetland Islands, and the long, wavy, soft, fine fiber they protected fiercely from machinery. So sad that battle is still being fought today. The sheep are in good hands on our farm! We will stick with the historical writings for that is the fiber I most love to spin/knit/ and wear. They won the battle, for today, I have descendents of those lovely long-fleeced, soft and wavy sheep. I plan on carrying on their work and passing it forward, for the sheep are so worthy and exceptional!.

If you haven't read it yet, get a copy! FUNNNNN! The artist's illustrations are worth it alone...especially skein winding...pre-flood!

Gotta go...will be back soon with photos I hope!

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