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, December 30, 2013

To Market, To Market

Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season!  Quick announcement:  we will be at the market this coming Saturday and hope to see you then!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wooly, Fuzzy Landscape

Wow!  I've never seen it like this!
It was beautiful
Trees seem more like single-legged sheep than trees...

These photos were taken yesterday here on our farm.  Moist air had come in, leaving everything looking like a winter wonderland!  Today, the storm predicted to hit us wasn't so bad.  We got a few inches, but everything is 'winter-normal'.  Hope the storm did not bring bad times to any of you out there!  It truly IS a very, very, very nice time to stay home and knit! lol

P.S....yes, new knitting needles ARE on my list! lol  Seems the actually DO wear out!

Friday, December 20, 2013

More Favorite Things

 Socks!  These are from our ewe, Sweetie.
 Bobbins FULL of wooly yarns in lovely Shetlandy colors!
...and reminders inside of how special sheep are to humanity.

Sheep have been with us historically for thousands of years.  Humans and sheep just go of my favorite things!

The holidays are fast approaching!  Are you ready?  If you need last minute yarn for gifts, just email us and we can help you out!  Seems like the midwest will be hit with unruly weather the next few days.  Hope all of you have a safe and happy approach to the holidays and be careful out there!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A few of my favorite things...


Not just any yarn though!  I like REAL yarn, the kind that comes from sheep.  Why?  It is amazing stuff to handle and is incredibly high performance in a garment.  Good, real yarn inspires ideas.  Life is never boring.  There are always new ways to use it, create with it, wear it, be warm with it, share it.  Sheep are such nice animals, and raising fiber is pleasant for people, and sheep.  It's amazing stuff, amazing culture, and amazing nature all in one.  Those are definitely a few of my favorite things!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pelt for Sale - $115.00

Unique and beautiful!!
Shetland Pelt for sale $115.00 plus ship/handling fee
Wisconsin residents add 5 % tax

Dimensions:  length (left to right in photo) 29 inches to 33 inches
                    width (top center of photo to bottom center) 22 inches at widest point

This lovely pelt shows the beginnings of change in Shetland color from a nearly black dark brown to a softer dove gray.  Very unique!

If you are interested in purchasing this special and unique pelt from our small family farm, click on our email link on the right side of the blog and send us an email. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Headband Pattern $2.95 + tx or free with yarn purchase

Use with any colors you like!

Our Wheely Wooly Farm Headband Pattern is also for sale for $2.95 + 5% sales tax, or it's free with a purchase of a skein of yarn!  We also recommend the 'Headband Kit', which includes the trim yarn for the crocheted border and a matching pre-made crocheted flower. (The Headband Kit sells for $3.95 + tx)  The pattern does not include instructions for the flower.  The kit colors are constantly changing, so email for color availability.  

If you'd like to use your own spun yarn, chose either a light worsted or DK (Number 3) to worsted or aran or medium(Number 4) weight yarn.  The crocheted border can be made with any fine or fingering (Number 1) weight yarn.

In this photo, I've used Gracelyn's stunning yarn.  She was born a moorit, but has faded to this super unique and stunning light gray with a sheen like silk!  It's so lovely paired with this Lake Michigan blue color!  These two colors together are so pretty in January, when everything is icy and blue skies return!

Sometimes, we have Headband Kits and patterns for sale at the market.  Watch for availability!  These headbands are popular with all ages and make great gifts for christmas!  Once you learn how to make them, you can make a couple in an evening.  Everyone loves a handmade gift...especially one that keeps you warm...with style!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Headband Season

Color, comfort, and style all in one!

Headband season is upon us and who can resist these stylish Shetland headbands?  The colors pop on gray, dreary days plus they are very comfortable to wear, perfect for shopping, errands, social events, or simply heading to work.  The black fiber is all natural color, meaning the black color will never fade, bleed, or wash out so you don't ever have to worry that in washing, the brighter colors will get dingy as synthetic fabrics do.  We make these headbands in many colors, with each one being completely handmade.  When I say completely, check this out!

Each sheep is lovingly cared for on a small family farm, where the sheep are tended every day.  They are never left out overnight, so that our native wildlife can do what they need to do at night and the shepherd can still sleep, dreaming sweet dreams rather than blood curdling dreams.  During wicked blizzards with extreme below zero cold or dangerous tornadic storms, the flock is brought in, as these weather conditions simply do not exist in Shetland sheep homelands and we'd rather not put them through that stress.  The flock is lambed out each spring, which is natural and healthy behavior for animals, with some ewes getting rest years as needed.  Number of lambs is not as important to us as healthy ewes.  The flock is sheared by hand each spring, on specially selected days so that each sheep's health is not compromised, but rather benefits from a good spring haircut.  Most of the wool is immediately assessed and processed, by hand, immediately after shearing, and is often completely spun up and ready for sale three weeks later, depending on suitable drying times (spring weather is unpredictable that way around here).

On top of all that labor and love, we engage in rotational mob-type grazing here.  It's a LOT of work, as we are frequently moving fencing.  Mob-type grazing is extremely good for the land AND the sheep.  As a result, our pastures have improved, the soil has improved, and we have less parasite worries.  The land is treated as though a herd of deer moved through, with cloven hooves aerating the soil, grass loped off (which regenerates it), and natural fertilizers left behind to feed the roots of the plants.  It's a perfect system that can go on and on, as long as the shepherdess has the energy in heat, humidity, and mosquitos to rotate the fence!  lol  It's a labor of love, and very rewarding when the sheep run out the next morning to fresh, new grass.  They positively sparkle with happiness!  It's moments like that when the shepherdess ends up standing with the sheep, just relishing the simplicity of it and the flock's happiness.  I usually get stuck there. :)

Anyway, if you are looking to be warmer this winter with a sense of style, and a desire to make a lifestyle choice and statement that reduces your impact on the very biological world that feeds and sustains us, these headbands are the right choice for you!  And they are an awesome deal at just $12. 95 each, plus 5% tax!!  Email us for availability (link on the right side of blog).  Hurry though, as this price will be going up soon! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy, happy, happy

...give the dog a bone...

As the nights get longer, and colder, the shepherdess looks forward to cozy evenings in the warm farmhouse with some good knitting, good hours to spin, or a good book.  Perhaps some baking is in store...maybe an apple crisp with ice cream to follow up some scrumptious marinated lamb and home grown baked vegetables with warmed apple sauce.  The newspaper came and is waiting to be read...

Waaiiiiitttt aaaaaaa mmmiiinnnuuttteee!

What's wrong with this picture?  LOL!  As Swifty sails through the house, bounds over the sofa as if it's a track hurdle, dashes after the cat then runs away as the cat gleefully chases him, the poor dreamy shepherdess is thinking this is not quite what she had in mind!  Claws dig into the carpet, rugs go flying, shoes disappear.  Splashes of water appear in streaks across the floor, trip hazards appear unexpectedly out of no where, and the cat chow magically disappears.  Next thing I know, I'm a dog bed.

Good thing shepherdesses have boxes of things for emergencies!  For the sheep, there are bottles of goo, orange powder, long straws, cans with blue spray and all sorts of other interesting things.  For the sheep dog, there isn't much.  The balls have all rolled away, the frisbees have all been lost, and the squeaky toys have been...well...misplaced.  And unfortunately, the sticks have to stay outside.  All that's left is something that lights up the shepherdess's eyes as though she's seen a $100. bill...a bone!  There's a BONE in here!  Thank goodness for the bone!

But there's bad news...there's only ONE bone in there!

Can dogs believe in Santa Clause?  Can shepherdesses?