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, October 8, 2011

'...grow an outer coat of hair...'

"The climate is perpetually moist and the sheep grow an outer coat of hair in addition to the exquisitely fine, soft wool. The sheep are not shorn; the wool is 'rooed', i.e. plucked, in July. It is sad that the decline in demand for this very beautiful wool, coupled with the drive to produce more meat, has led to the introduction of Blackfaces and Cheviots and the pure-bred Shetland is fast disappearing. No wool is more rewarding for the handspinner and knitter."

Your Handspinning by Elsie G. Davenport, copyright 1953, page 27

Good stuff!!! I could read this all day. Here is yet another source describing the genuine Shetland sheep. Notice the mention of HAIR? So typical. Just like Mr. Bowie, Sr. wrote vehemetly, if it doesn't have tips, it's not Shetland!

I like reading this stuff because I feel very connected to generations past when I spin this fiber. Genuine Shetland fiber has passed through the hands of many women. This spinner described the very fiber I'm growing on my pastures today. We both love spinning, and are both fascinated with excellent spinning fibers. Yet we are a generation...or two...apart. I'm very thankful people like Ms. Elsie G. Davenport took the time to write about her passion. Genuine Shetland fiber is indeed a pleasure to spin.

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