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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Take our Shetland Quiz!

Test your knowledge of beautiful Shetland sheep with the first ever Shetland Sheep Quiz! True or False:

1. Col. Dailley, the man who brought a flock of Shetlands to the North American continent to preserve and protect them, was a knowledgeable sheep man.

2. The early American shepherds (1990's) of Dailley-descended Shetlands cannot recall what their flocks looked like.

3. The people responsible for giving us our new judges packet have advanced degrees in livestock, and are accredited livestock judges here in America.

4. A fleece with a staple length of 1-2 inches and exhibiting a blocky tip is beautifully Shetland.

5. A double-coated Shetland (or any Shetland with a staple length greater than 2 inches) is not really a Shetland, but a breed in the "long wool" classification of sheep, as recognized by the American Wool Council.

6. Shetland sheep are NOT related, in ANY way, to the other Northern European Short-tailed breeds.

7. Every Shetland sheep exhibiting a certain short fleece type is purest blood.

8. A sloping, dished spine on a Shetland sheep (or ANY kind of sheep) is not only ok, it is desirable!

9. Shetland sheep have historically been managed by wealthy people who could afford to cull all but the shortest of fleeces.

10. The words on the 1927 Breed Standard that define Shetland fleece as "longish and wavy" actually mean "super short and super crimpy".

11. We understand, through modern science, EXACTLY how Shetland colors manifest themselves, on EVERY sheep. Hobby shepherds are the most knowledgeable at predicting, with 100 % accuracy, all the time, what color a sheep is, even if they've never seen the sheep.

12. Micron test reports are THE best way to select genuine Shetland fleeces.

13. One micron test gives you a completely accurate picture, with no margin of error, of a sheep's fleece on any given day of it's life.

14. Preserving the genetic diversity Shetlands manifest is just plum not acceptable, and nobody would want to do that anyway.

15. Owners of American hobby flocks are SO knowledgeable about Shetland fleeces, that they are qualified to re-write the breed standard, and educate everyone else, for all the historical accounts of the sheep and their textiles mean nothing.

15a. You don't have to be an experienced spinner or knitter to judge good Shetland fleeces or sheep to sell for breeding stock.

16. Kitties despise sheep's wool in their kitty beds!

17. Linda Zuppann, THE person who gave us NASSA (our breed organization), would be giddy happy to see Shetland sheep narrowed down to just one fleece type, with all the rest banished from the breed.

18. Shetland wool was NEVER historically used in rugs or weaving.

19. The wool on the britch area of a Shetland sheep should be of same character as the rest of the fleece, because the Shetland Islands have such a nice, warm, dry, calm climate.

20. Despite the fact that Shetland sheep are wild and nutzo in mind, they attract only gentle, kind, well-mannered people.

Good luck! Stay tuned for the answers in the next blog!

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