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, September 9, 2013

A Blissful Time!

Another year of the Sheep and Wool Festival has come and gone and what a fun one it was!  It's a bit hectic for us, as we attend the festival on Friday, then hurry home for market Saturday morning, then after catching up at the farm Sat. night and a good night's sleep, we headed back down to the festival for the day Sunday.

Some of our treasures found at the festival
Purchased from Jan The Village Weaver, and husband, Bob
Thank you Jan and Bob! 

As always, what fun we had catching up with our sheepy friends!  And what fun visiting the country store and sheep barns!  I also LOVE looking at the hooked rug display, and was delighted with the amazing designs the artists come up with.  In my mind ALL those rugs look perfect!  The designs are so creative, with movement and flow in them that shows a real understanding of how color, texture, and pattern can create life and motion in a piece.  It amazes me every year.  I love studying them and learning from the artistry.

Above, you'll find some of the treasures we brought home!  On the left is a knitting bowl....I've been waiting a LONG time for such a find!!!  This bowl is awesome!  It is heavy, so that the ball can roll around inside without pulling the bowl off the table when you pull on the yarn.  There are three holes on the side for different gauges of yarn.  On one side is the image of a saxony wheel, on the other, (not pictured here) is a pretty image of a black-faced sheep's head with the blue sky behind it.  I couldn't wait to get started knitting with it, so I got out some three ply yarn from Ol' Redwood I've been saving up, plopped it in the bowl, and began a very comfortable knitting experience that I've been dreaming about for ages!  How nice to not have the ball in a little plastic bowl, flipping off the table, or in my lap, rolling off onto the floor.  How nice to have it inaccessible to Sophie the kitty, who has a tendency to bite the yarn and not let go unless I pet her!  The yarn slips so nicely through the carefully made nicely in fact, without fear of pulling the whole thing off the table, that I was having a little too much fun pulling! (Read:  Ziiiinnnnnggggg!!  'Look at all the yarn I have!")

On the right is an awesome coffee mug made by the same artist, Bob.  I fell in love with it the first I laid eyes on it because the sheep has little hearts floating above it.  If you look at our logo on the right side of our blog here, you will see I designed floating hearts above the wheel, indicating how much I love working with sheep and wool!  When I saw this mug, I knew it was the mug for me! :)  It was purchased for me as an early christmas gift....lucky me! :)  On the backside, there is another image with floating hearts.  Love it!  Thanks Bob for your work, and I hope you'll sell lots more!

To say we had fun at the festival was an understatement!  I bought new handblades AND a leather case for the blades, which was VERY exciting for me!  This spring, when shearing the flock, it dawned on me that if something happened to my blades, or I accidently lost them,  I'd be in trouble!  Now, I have a back-up pair, with a super nice blade case.  Lucky me! :)  I love sheep.  Now I don't have to worry.

It's so fun to go to the festival every year.  If you get OUT of the Shetland stuff, and into the realm of all the other breeds, you will find the nicest and friendliest people!  Speaking of Shetland people, I noticed that once again, NASSA was not mentioned by anyone or any displays again this year, for the second year in a row.  NASSA is no longer being promoted at our festival, that I saw, despite supporting the festival a great deal for years.  I did get the chance to meander around the Shetland sheep barn on Friday night, which was also fun!  I think it's great that the nasty group of people who tried to steal the registry have finally been motivated to start their own thing.  I genuinely hope they will be happy with their own work, and sense of direction they are pursuing, even if so many find them intolerable people.  I think this was the best outcome for everyone and for the sheep.  Now they can work on their own focus, and take their sheep to new places as appendix breeding will do.  (I did notice that they did not disclose on their advertising that the Appendix A is a modern document.) And while they are busy doing that, the rest of us have the peace of keeping the sheep genuine, just as they were when the Shetland people needed to survive on them all those years ago.

So here we are, back at the farm with lots of fiber treasures, new ideas, new friends, and the refreshing feeling that comes from time spent doing something you love, with like-minded folks.  I have a greater focus of where I'd like to take my fiber skills in the future, as well as a deeper sense of accomplishment after looking back at where we started, and where we are today.  It was a good weekend of reflection, learning, and connecting.  Isn't that just what a good festival should give one?  I think so!  And....the ice cream cones were delicious!

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