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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Staying Warm

 Cats are SMART!
We really ought to follow their lead...

 My favorite sweater.
Have you made a favorite sweater?
I want to make another one...
Yarn for sale!
Limited selection, but perfect for christmas lists.

Time is beginning to run out on shopping for the holidays!  With behind the scenes things happening, I have a pretty low inventory, despite new fleeces coming off the wheel, but we still have some lovely skeins perfect for the holidays.  If you had seen a yarn you liked but didn't see us at the market, just email us.  We also have a few scarf balls for colors.  Actually, I don't have enough of any one fleece left for making a sweater, but will again in the future.  Hope all of you are having a good transition to winter and are making knitwear for your loved ones like mad!  lol

Friday, November 14, 2014

Barn Mittens

Mix it up! do...mix it do

These barn mittens were a super fun project of mixing up the yarns.  Someone I know had a ton of spun singles of all sorts of lovely fibers, and didn't know what to do with them all.  Singles have rumored reputations that have been unfounded here at this farm.  We decided to trust our instincts and put them to the test of durability and ruggedness by plunging them into daily living on a busy sheep farm to see what would happen.  The results have been very pleasing!

First, we mixed up the colors.  There is no logic behind the design of color in these mittens.  It was literally, knit until the ball runs out kind of thing.  We took multiple colors and just threw them in where needed, with the gray as the overall base color of the mittens.  The red added a nice touch, giving them an almost festive feel.  Several different balls were employed in the making of these mittens.  All yarns were about the same gauge...roughly a worsted weight running a tad on the bulky side.  There were occasional slubs along the way, that simply added warmth and character to these artistic wearables.

The end result is a pair of mittens that has now endured one of the roughest winters ever thrown at us...countless soakings by water buckets, freezing tight to bucket handles and stall latches, smoothing feathers, lugging hay, and occasionally being snatched out of coat pockets by creatures who put EVERYTHING in their mouths ALL OF THE TIME! lol

What have we learned? 
1.  There is no such thing as 'waste yarn'.
2.  There is no such thing as yarn without a purpose
3.  Singles are strong, durable, and warm
4.  Not every knitting project has to be a carefully designed, well thought out, detailed kind of thing
5.  Free-form knitting results in fun and satisfaction

So go ahead and wing it!  See what you can do.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pretty Sheep

Just a couple of fun pictures of pretty sheep.  These are a couple of years old already but so pretty to look back on, I couldn't resist!  (Both these fleeces and the year after's are long sold out.)
 Plain Handsome!
Plain pretty!

We are very low on inventory right now.  The variety is in good shape, with many colors to choose from, but there are only a few skeins of each left, with some colors getting perilously low.  Wheely Wooly Farm will be taking a break from the winter farm market to catch up and plan for the future, as changes are in the works!  (They will take time...)  I will only have one pelt left coming in later at the end of this year, so we are getting too low on nearly everything.  One comment back from a customer recently was about how nice pelts are in the car during the bitter cold of winter.  Turn the pelt fleece side down over the legs for toasty warmth while driving or riding along, sipping coffee and enjoying time with family.  No need to freeze or blast the heat!

Sheep are wonderful animals who have great lives on small sheep farms, and who give us the most amazing array of useful products, both as live animals, and after.  They are personable, have their own unique voices of which you can call them by name, and will be your friend if you are kind to them.  From peace and contentment, to warmth, to healthful eating, sheep give it all!

Winter projects are also lined up.  We are expanding our recordkeeping to a new format, which will be done as the flurries fly.  I'm very excited about all of the changes and am ALMOST...ALMOST! looking forward to snow this year. lol  It will be good time to work on the office side of shepherding.

I was thinking recently of how much wool I was wearing on a day when it was about 35 degrees outside (just above freezing)...realizing how much I rely on wool for daily living.  Of the so many advantages to wool, I realized that wool is unlike any 'engineered' fabric in that it is so much more flexible, with nicer, more forgiving ease when you have to bend over to pick up hoses, barn cats (ya gotta scratch those ears!), and bits of hay dropped along the way.  Wearing wool works for busy shepherds because we need to move our bodies in sheepyyoga types of ways and synthetics just can't compete!  They do not have the give, the ease, the flex that real wool has.  Wool is truly an outstanding, high quality fabric that works for everyone.

But of course, one of the best advantages wool clothing gives, are pretty sheep to look at all year long!  You knew that was coming...right?

P.S.  To Friday Harbor..welcome again!  Oak Lawn...I see you :)  J.J. Keller...well....unspoken! lol