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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What do you think...should we offer this guy for sale?  He's a pretty handsome fellow, with a richness to the black in his fleece that is hard to find.  He'll be medium-sized as an adult.  
Wheely Wooly Spring
I'm putting these thoughts out to the world just for fun.  It's not easy to get rich natural color in yarns these days.  Natural colors are absolutely the best if you like easy care, or knitting/crocheting with other colors.  His fleece is very dense and springy.  Not sure if we want to sell him yet. 

Next up is Shell, the little lamb born wiggling tail first.  This ram has several attributes that we positively love, so he is a keeper for now, not for sale.  As you can see, he tore his ear tag out back when he was a wee fellow.  Shell's fleece is gorgeous!  His mother is Posie, pictured at the side of the blog.  That means he's descended down from our handsome Shetland ram, Lerwick!  Shell gets his name from a lace knitting pattern from the Shetland Islands.  His twin, who's black, is Wheely Wooly Shale, for the Old Shale knitting pattern also thought to be original to Shetland.

 Wheely Wooly Shell

Last is Buzzy.  Don't ask how he got his name...sleep-deprived shepherds I would guess!  BuzzBuzz is very much like a teddy bear, has very bright eyes, amazing fleece, and a very gentle character.  But being of a strong commercial breed, he has virtually zero parasite resistance!  It's been a battle all summer to keep this lamb alive, but I think we made it!  He's out of Beatrice, a ewe born on our farm who also had zero resistance that we worked through with very very very careful observations and vet assistance.  Beatrice has grown out of her parasite problems and today is an absolutely gorgeous, solid, huge ewe with the longest eyelashes you'll ever see!  We are very proud of our work with Bea, and are thrilled to have her, despite the resistance problem.  This year, we are breeding her to a "Star" ram from our flock, which means a sheep that has not needed any deworming his whole life so far, so her lambs next year will not look quite like Buzzy.  We love Buzzy  Isn't he cute?
Buzzy's ear tag fell out by failure, meaning it just came apart somewhere along the way and one day, it was gone, not to be seen again. We've had four tags like that this year, fortunately all were on sheep that were easy to identify.   This is the first year we've had tag failure.  Don't like it.  He'll be getting a new one soon.  But for i.d. purposes around here, no tag needed...just watch out you don't trip over him!   He's fast, loving, gentle and very curious.  

Well, that should give you an idea of what some of the sheep look like, as so many of you ask and want to see!  We started out with all Shetlands, but as a spinner, I loved working with many different types of fleeces.  Because of that interest, we decided not to be solely a Shetland sheep farm.  Despite having other breeds here, we diligently keep and maintain a purebred Shetland flock of our favorite colors, and are now many generations deep into our foundation lines.

More yarns are coming to market in the next two weeks!  Watch for Poppy, Saxony, and Motif.  Poppy's yarns are white so we are leaving some natural, some dyed.  Spinning her fiber has been very dreamy and I'm always very disappointed when it's gone.  Saxony is a moorit purebred Shetland ram lamb who's fiber is incredibly soft with rich chocolatey color to it.  Don't miss out on this gorgeous yarn!  Motif is a very bright expressioned purebred Shetland ram lamb who is as bright-eyed as his sire, Wooly Bear.  Motif is out of Mousa, a gorgeous purebred Shetland ewe, who's out of our flock mascot, Mona.  Everyone knows Mona!  Motif is her 'grandson'.  His fiber is washed and waiting for the next step, so watch for it in a couple of weeks!

Happy knitting/crocheting everyone!