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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More Cat's Paw and hodgepodge

Whooaaoooooaaa! We're getting absolutely blasted by days of ridiculous wind. Good thing Shetland sheep don't blow away. In fact, they're unfazed. Oh, but my poor little tomato and pepper transplants! I have them protected, sheltered, and watered as needed with warm water from the stock tank....but poor little plants! I still haven't planted my front planters, for the wind has just been too much for sweet little flowers. In the meantime, Annabelle (our other sheep dog) just has to suffer. Her contribution to the garden is to give up her favorite window seat for transplants.

So back to Cat's Paw lace for a moment. Did you know the word lace can be used in two different ways? First, lace can be used to describe a kind of knitting. I like to call it...making holes in your knitting on purpose! Lace knitting is open, airy, and warm to wear, contrary to a hole-filled impression.

Cat's Paw Lace...the Shetland Island's version, with added trim

Secondly, the word lace can be used to describe gauge in a yarn. In some parts of the world, lace gauge nearly requires a microscope to see it. Things made from this weight of yarn are stunning. Here in America, most lace knitting is of a larger, but still tiny gauge.

My Cat's Paw lace was made using the traditional Shetland Island pattern and is constructed with a light worsted two-ply yarn. I wear it under the collar of my blue and black coat, now designated as nice barn wear (thanks to Swifty's tooth). This scarf is strong enough for chores, yet very light and soft. It goes dressy with a change of coat. That's what I like about Shetland yarn!!!! It's like a chameleon...always taking on the color of the situation. Need dressy? It does that! Need dining out in cold restaurant? It does that! Need something for church? It does that! Need something for the drafty meeting room? It does that! Need something for the barn? It does that! Need something for a gift? It does that!! Need something for that grown son, or son-in-law, or hubby, or brother? It does that (well, maybe not Cat's Paw :)!! Need something for your boss that will be cherished? It does that!! Our yarns come in many natural colors and would make GREAT fiber for Cat's Paw lace! (That is...THE genuine, real Shetland fiber.)

If you'd like to make something using the Cat's Paw pattern, you can do a search on the internet for a multitude of variations of this pattern. Many knitting dictionaries also carry some version of this pattern. Cat's Paw can be the whole piece, or the pattern can be embeded into a piece with other designs in it.

Now for the rest of hodgepodge. Swifty came in a couple of nights ago reeking of something awful! My first thought before I knew what was going on, was something's on fire! Gunpowder came to mind....but it was just my dog! It was sooooo strong, we thought he'd been sprayed by a skunk...perhaps the one currently dining on our chicken feed in early evenings??? No, it wasn't that. Well, it's been so warm and frogs are everywhere, did he get a toad?? So we shooed him outside and rinsed his mouth out as best we could. What a good boy he is!! He seemed to understand. What we forgot in our worry was WE reeked!!!!! The smell was now all over our clothes! Showers! Laundry AGAIN!!! By morning, his reeking had greatly subsided. I had fretted all night...should I call his vet? Is he poisoned? Drooling? Foaming? Vomiting? Convulsing? Uncoordinated? Passing out? Nothing, just reek! By the afternoon, the smell was nearly gone. So we know it wasn't that skunk....we never found a dead toad.....and Swifty is VERY grateful to go in the safety of his kennel and boy!...he won't go near the woods! Problem solved, never identified.

Dead Chicken?

No, no dead chickens! That's Mable, rolling in the dirt. Sure feels good! I'm very glad chickens do their own laundry.....and that's Penny next to her. I adore Penny (and Mable, too). Penny is six years old now, and still lays some days. She's a beautiful hen. Mable lays beautiful eggs, too.
Mmmm! Early spring grass!
And finally, grass! The sheep love their pasture! This is what it looked like here back in April, as some in my flock gather to graze.

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