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.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Shetland Moorit Yarn and Esther, too
As a busy knitter, I can't say enough about the joys of knitting with Shetland hand spun yarns!
Shetland natural colors are so amazing! Here is one I love. It's a rich brown with some amber highlights. This rich brown is known in the old norse language as "moorit". Many of the words used to describe the Shetland sheep, as well as words of places are rooted in old norse, for the people of the Shetland Islands relate closely to their Norwegian heritage. For example, the main town in the islands is called Lerwick, which means 'muddy bay' in the old norse language. When I named our ram lamb last year 'Lerwick', I didn't know that yet! It's neat how his coloring is dark brownish/black. Lerwick is the main seaport on the east side of the Shetland Islands where shetland sheep, fiber, and supplies have been traded for centuries. It's still the main port, still busy, today. Our Lerwick's yarn is selling fast, with less than half of it left. Come early if you'd like to try it! Wink's will also be available.
Notice the natural heathering? His tips were lightened, but he is not a blaeget (another word for describing fiber). Because this is his first shearing, his tips were in great shape, with this wonderful ability to bring highlights into the yarn! Pair this yarn with coordinating colors, or rich blues/greens and it's stunning!
Next, we move on to Esther's yarn. Per customer request, from loving her fleece and yarn last year, I've worked on Esther's fleece this last week. Her yarn has excellent Shetland handle to it, and lovely, rich color with amazing softness! I wish I had a picture of Esther, but I don't. :( Her wool is five inches at the front shoulder, and over nine inches at last rib! Longish, wavy wool works! This ewe had been bred from stock following strictly the 1927 Breed Standard without any add ons. It sure works!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes, it's hard to part with our yarns, for as I work with it, I often think of the clothes I'd make with that yarn. Esther was no exception!
This is a closer view, showing again, the natural heathering hand spinning brings to the finished yarn. That heathering disappears with milling. The eye intreprets this lovely color as very interesting and unique...pleasing. Heathering also brings great fun in paring complimentary colors with the yarn!! The fun with Shetland natural colors is never ending, for there are so many possibilities!