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.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wheely Wooly Hap

Here's a very friendly little fellow! Meet Wheely Wooly Hap, a little ram lamb. Every time I look at him, it seems he's smiling! He has a very calm demeanor about him, and he's very friendly (did I mention that yet?). No surprise!

Wheely Wooly Hap
Wheely Wooly Lerwick x Honey
ram lamb who'll be registered

Hap is a very honored fella. He is out of Wheely Wooly Lerwick, an outstanding Shetland ram born on our farm last year. Lerwick has outstanding longish wavy fleece that is remarkably fine and soft. That fineness and softness comes surely from our Grand Champion Ram, Wooly Bear, who is Lerwick's sire. That makes Wooly Bear a Rampa! (giggle, giggle) (Can you believe it? Time sure flies, doesn't it!) Lerwick also has outstanding conformation, and Wooly Bear's gentle temperament, which he obviously hooved down to his little lamb, Hap.

But that's not all! You see, Hap has Grand Champ. blood on BOTH sides!! Honey is descended from Grand Champion Bluff Country Patriot! After winning the big title several years ago, Patriot went on to sire many lambs. Thus Honey has descended. She, too, has passed on a very soft, fine fleece that has more crimp than many of my other sheep. I think that's where Hap gets the crimp he is wearing. The yarn pictured on the right side of my blog is from Hap's Grand-ewether There are many pictures of Honey's fleece in my blog archives. I could make it easy to read them, but I haven't learned how to pull them up yet!

lambs are: Twilight (left), Maewyn (center), and Hap
ewes are: Sweetie (Twilight's mom, left), Gwennie (center back), and Honey (Hap's mom)

Little Hap was born moorit with white. So is he a white sheep with moorit markings?? (giggle, giggle)....or is he a moorit sheep with white markings? His mother is spotted, which is where he get's his color. His fleece is very crimpy, and nearly white at skin line! His mother's line are faders, so I think he'll mature out much lighter than he is now. I think his grown up regalness is already beginning to show in this next picture...

I can just picture it...his band of ewes behind him, grazing, while he regally looks out over the expanse before him, front hooves confidently on a rock outcrop... checking for any rams down in the distance that might move in on his group. OK! OK! So I'm romanticizing a little here, but he DOES look regal here, doesn't he? I can just see his crown of glory horns curling around....ok, ok! I'll stop!

Hap is named for the hap shawls that were once very common on the Shetland Islands long ago. Hap shawls were the everyday shawls worn by working people as they tended their families and crofts (farms). The Shetland Island Museum Photo Archives are full of pictures of women wearing their hap shawls. We dream our little Hap will grow up to be as useful as those hap shawls everyone wore back then!

Since Honey is a first-time mom and therefore, we cannot be absolutely certain what she produces, we will wait to see how Hap's horns grow out. But as you can see, he is a great lamb in all other respects, and with Wooly Bear's and Lerwick's outstanding horns, we aren't too worried.

Here's what his other side looks like.

No, no, no! Little lambies! Don't do that!!! Isn't Sweetie a good mom! Wait a minute! Sweetie's not Hap's mother! Sweetie is always so gentle, she takes care of all lambs as if they were her own. Just after I took this picture, I was running up to the house for my shears!

Hap on Sweetie's extremely fine fleece this year! Twilight (also guilty!) peaking over Hay Cafe's stock tank.
Hope you enjoyed seeing more and learning more about Wheely Wooly Hap!

Ok, I haven't figured out how to attach old posts here, but if you want to see Honey and her fleece from last year, look up May 6, 2010 titled Color, color, color! and May 21, 2010 titled Fleeces. They both have good pictures of Hap's mom's fleece. Honey was born very dark brown, faded to honey-color as a bieslet (collar of color around her neck), then faded to creamy fawn, just like her own mother! Notice in the photos the lovely lilacs that were blooming on our farm last year in early May! Not this year! It will be at least two weeks yet, maybe longer before we get lilac blooms!

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