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, January 7, 2013

Crewel Sheep!

More needle fun!

Did you know that Wheely Wooly Farm produces a humble wool embroidery yarn created from LFS (Local  Friendly Sheep)?  That's right!  We ever so humbly produce a lovely variety of yarns suitable for crewel or embroidery needle work.  We have many lovely colors to choose from, and the price is very affordable!  Watch for this sign on one of our tables in the booth!  The yarns are labeled and in neat little bags for ease of transport home to your embroidery hoops.  Our supply is limited, but each bag comes with three coordinating colors suited to spark your creative style!  They are not only fun for yourself, but make great gifts as well!

I did mention the word "crewel" above...what does it mean?  Crewel is a very old form of needle embroidery that uses a needle with a large eye, wide body, and sharp point.  The large eye is for the ease of threading wool through it.  In fact, the word crewel is a reference to wool itself in that it interprets to curl of the staple.  The sewer secures a backing (could be wool or linen) into an embroidery hoop, threads the needle, then uses a variety of embroidery stitches to fill in space.  Wheel spun wool was readily available historically, and gave a lovely look to the finished designs.  Often, the sewer would design their own work, lending personalization and uniqueness to each finished piece.  Of course, the people living so close to nature in times past loved working with designs emphasizing things they knew well...flora and fauna.  This style of work is free form, meaning there are no counted stitches, as in other embroidery.

Well, I'm hooked! 

 Want to see something that I found fascinating?  Take a look at a stunning historical crazy quilt brought into the Antiques Roadshow one year!  When I saw it (on TV), I was stunned and captivated.  It's made of wool backing...smaller pieces that were embroidered on with wheel spun wool yarns, crewel style.  Then the pieces were fitted together, hand sewn, and filled with more decorative crewel stitching...all by hand many, many years ago!  Just look at the items the sewer embroidered...chickens, geese, a fork, botanicals, the Bible, a platypus!, other wild animals, butterflies, and other interesting items.  It must have taken a stunning amount of time to create all the pieces, much less the decorative joins!  It is simply stunning!  I would surely love to see the full detail of each figure.  If any of you out there know more about this quilt, please email me!  

I hope you enjoy today's post, and the work of talented hands of days gone by when you see the quilt!  Isn't wool GREAT?!?

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