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.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Take Joy! A wee peerie for Iris

One old, one new...

Here is a simple little peerie I knit into a sock for me just for fun. It's very easy to do, and really doesn't require a pattern. So many peeries are like that. Certain peeries are known specifically to the Shetland Islands and the knitwear there, and this is one of them. This little peerie is over four rows...very simplistic.

What is a peerie? It's a small pattern embedded into the knitting. In fact, the word peerie means small. So cute! It is made while knitting with two different yarns.

The sock on the left is an Iris sock I made years ago...I can't remember how long ago. I wear it a lot over winter. It's a squirmy soft sock that has not needed any repairs, nor has it felted or shrunk at all despite heavy use in my barn boots in the snowiest winters my area has ever recorded. The sock on the right is my new sock, fresh off the needles about 20 minutes ago. It is an extra sturdy sock because I spun the yarn thicker than usual, and knit at a tight gauge. These are going to be my "I hate these icy blasts!" socks this winter! The black yarn is a leftover ball from Lil' Rainbow. Iris has a stronger silvery tone this year, and Lil' Rainbow is black with specks of silver from her lighter outer coat tips. They are sort of an inverse of each other and pair so nicely, I wish I had thought of adding more peeries into the sock before I had started. two in a pair have to match? We'll see what I throw into the second sock.
Iris's yarn balled up and waiting for me! :)

Here's Iris again. I love this picture!

Check out Iris's bright expression! She has a nice level topline, is wooly on the poll and cheeks, has medium bone density, is nice and square, has nice shoulders and chest, and the proper hip (as in not rounded like meat breeds, as the Scottish judges so exasperatingly pointed out was a bad fault in Shetlands), and though you can't see it here, a proper tail. She is also an outstanding mother with loads of milk. She manages her parasite load on her own and is always healthy. She's also halter trained, and I shear her standing, tied to the fence while she chews her cud. It is not hard to find joy in the flock! Her fleece is very popular, with repeat customers. I hope all of my sheep can be like her! She was born a rich moorit, and faded to musket as she aged. I select for faders. LOVE 'em!

PS...this basic sock pattern can be found on the right side of my blog under Yankee Knitter. The writer of this pattern has a talent for simplifying things, so I highly recommend it to new sock knitters. I knit lots of these socks because the pattern is sooooo easy to adapt to anything that strikes your fancy...even if that moment is midway through the sock! The peeries were used a lot in Shetland, and the different colored toe (left sock) was common in Faroe at one time.

Hope all of you are finding quiet moments to knit in a warm place and finding joy in that peace!

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