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, January 22, 2011

It's my lucky day!

I love it when things happen like this! Today, I found some leftover Lil' Rainbow fiber in a bag. After thinking about it a minute, I remember now that I had some of her britch wool left. Yippee! Below is a picture of her lovely yarn on the bobbin; not britch wool but midside. It is very soft, fine, and alive!

Lil' Rainbow's fiber spun last all sold out

This scarf is knitted with Coopworth handspun yarn I made, which I trimmed with a crocheted picot edge of Lil' Rainbow's handspun yarn. It was really pretty! It sold right away.Handspun, handmade accent scarf with Coopworth and Shetland wool

Below are some shots I just took of her britch wool I found today. The whitish fibers are very characteristically Shetland soft, with amazing life and dynamism to them! It is really amazing fiber! They spin easy, and sit in the yarn nicely...just as you'd expect of Shetland, and the yarn is SOFT!. Notice how, even though it's britch wool, the wave remains in the staple length...body to tip! Wave, the key word on our breed standard, means rounded ups and downs like waves on the ocean, not kinky (more angular or kinked, like merino or rambouillet). It means wavy, not spherical (twisting in a spiral as some other breeds do). It is also not curly. These differences make for lovely movement in the yarn.

Lil' Rainbow's britch wool (on hips and rear legs)
measures 7 to 8 inches long

Every Shetland sheep is a primitive sheep, unless it's been crossbred to have fleece of a more modern type. (That means if you hear people say they have Shetlands, with some primitives, they are saying they have SOME genuine sheep, and who knows what else!) We love the diversity in fiber the genuine breed supplies BECAUSE it's a primitive breed. The more modern fleeces are lovely, too, but they just don't have the handle (movement, dynamism, fineness, softness, lightness) the primitive fibers have. The more modern fiber is a different experience, lovely as well, but different. I've also noticed that other breeds with wavy fiber just don't have the handle the primitive Shetlands have. Other breed's wavy fiber is thicker, heavier, and sometimes spherical. It's just different in a way I cannot always explain.

The tips of Lil' Rainbow's britch wool...notice the wave! :))))

I love to "spin the world". I've now spun Wensleydale, Cotswold, Rya wool, Teeswater, Lincoln, Icelandic, Corriedale, Dorset, German Dike, ramboul., the leicesters, Clun, and other's I'm not remembering immediately off the top of my head. How lucky I feel to have access to this wonderful world of spinning!! I am always amazed at how each type of fiber has such a different feel to them! I didn't make it very long in the other breeds, before I came back to Shetlands! In fact, I've really enjoyed traveling this last two years to many, many fiber shops. As I study the fiber available in these shops (including some Shetland), I've come to realize how lucky I am to have these Shetland sheep! Wait! Dare I BELOVED Shetland sheep!.......
(giggle, giggle!!!)

Thanks to all for the compliments and caring well wishes with Wink in comments! Much appreciated!

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