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, August 22, 2017

So what does this mean...pattern resources

The busy shepherdess, who has projects in progress (PIP's) everywhere is turning out just like them!! 

lol

The wonderful women of my childhood did not seem one bit set back, even though things surely were hard for their generation.  It was obvious to me as a child that they were busy with their creations because they loved the useful and pretty results of what they made.  The time and effort they devoted to the work gave them so much more in return.  It's truly amazing how they did all that without the resources we have on hand today!

So what resources are out there?  Where can one find patterns?  Here are a few suggestions of places to look:

1.  Did you know most libraries are actually part of a vast regional collection of which you can also borrow from?  Go to your local library's website and find the name of the regional group...here in Winnebago County, we are Winnefox.  Another example south of here is the Monarch library system.  Each region is actually a large collection of small town libraries, and each collection is available with just the click of a mouse!  How is that for fabulous!! In my experience, there is little repeat of collection items for this very purpose.  That means you can find stitch dictionaries, pattern books based on all sorts of themes and ideas, and periodicals.  There are several magazines devoted to knitting and crochet, all available through these systems, so check it out and open a whole new world of ideas!!

2.  Did you know that area book stores and Goodwill stores stock great knitting/crochet books?  On one recent trip to an Appleton bookstore, we found extremely cute pattern books on crocheted farm animals that had us trying to contain our giggles right there in the aisle.  But the collection is actually vast and diverse!  Grab a hot cup of coffee and let the browsing begin until you find something you can't resist and open a whole new world of fun!

3.  Did you know that there is a ton of free patterns available on the internet?  It's true!  Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to last, as this is getting tighter and tighter.  If you have experience with knit or crochet, just looking at pictures of other people's work is great fun!  Other people love to show what they've made and wish to inspire you so don't be shy or worry...sharing is a strong American trait!

Any one of these three above can quickly flood you with inspiration, ideas, and guidance for things to make.  This is a very rich time for idea exchange that cannot be taken for granted.  Utilize it to advance your skills and broaden your knowledge.

Wheely Wooly Farm yarns are ideal for nearly every pattern out there, just match the gauge and needle or hook size.  In fact, most pattern collections are designed for any yarn available to you in your area that matches the gauge.  Our yarns are easily washed and suitable for just about every project you could put them in.  Our colors are vibrant, varigated and naturally appealing, so put these yarns in clothing, household items, toys...anything!  Even dog sweaters!  We think you will love the results!

Happy hunting for patterns and when you are vastly overwhelmed with all the fun options, come see us at the market and we'll do what we can to help!

P.S.  I forgot to mention when I posted this yesterday, what has become of that pretty neighborhood full of flowers and gardens with spacious houses all orderly and filled with love, occupied by sharing social people who made really good cookies.  After most of those residents passed away or moved into homes closer to a family member, the city virtually stopped maintaining or investing in the neighborhood.  No longer maintained, the streets fell into near ruin and were quite uncomfortable to drive on.  Street lights would be dark, not fixed, and so on.  Some of the ladies houses fell into drug houses, and the neighborhood became much less safe.  They went from apple pies and canned pears to...something much much different.  While some families stubbornly stayed, most of the rest moved away and the bigger houses no longer held business leaders.  The last time I drove through there was a shock.  Their houses are falling apart.  You can't even see where their gardens were.  There are junk cars in the yards.  Many, many trees are gone so it's much hotter and drier there now.  The generation that built America is gone.  In it's place is...well...I'll leave that interpretation to you!  I know how sad it would make that generation to see the way it is today!!







Monday, August 21, 2017

Busy, happy people

The head shepherdess of Wheely Wooly Farm grew up in the city, running through yards, catching any and all dogs in the neighborhood, and befriending the many, many widows that lived everywhere.  All those widows were a dream for a young girl!!  At that time, so many women outlived their husbands, for their husbands had built our nation.  They had fought in world wars, sweated in factories, and built up our food supply unlike anything seen before.  In my city, they built doors, windows, furniture, paper products of all sorts, put the world on track for municipal garbage collection, made heavy duty axles for all sorts of huge vehicles, and many other hard things.

And yet, despite being alone in their homes, they were the happiest, smiliest, most cheerful, social people I knew growing up!  They also bought huge amounts of chocolate from a little girl hoping to make a sales goal!

So what does this have to do with sheep?  Well, it doesn't!  But all of these women were very busy.  They grew gorgeous, perfect gardens.  They raised scrumptious apples, pears, raspberries and massive hygrangeas.  They introduced me to cultures, customs, and languages from the homelands, particularly Norway and Scotland.  They showed me snapdragons, and how to get morning glories to climb nearly to the sky, and how to make a rain barrel.  They had showstopping pantries stocked with pretty jars of food on lovely lacy shelf liners and doilies!  They asked about my life.  They cared.  They exuberated love.  And they ALL knit, crocheted, or tatted.  They'd pull up an extra chair on nice summer evenings out in the driveway, and wait to see who'd come land in it for awhile.  If it was the chatty little girl, or a nearby adult, all were welcome and appreciated.

Their houses were positively filled in every visual space with beautiful things.  Arm chair covers, shelf doilies, liners and trims, decorative shade pulls, lamp shade trims, fancy table cloths, canning jar covers, even the spare roll of toilet paper all covered in something cute or beautiful!  Rugs, curtains, side tables, bedspreads, over the edge on pillow cases, bath towels, even hot pads for hot dishes!  Busy!  These women were very, very busy!

There was something else they were very good at...well, that is if zucchini wasn't ready yet in the garden...cookies!  What kid doesn't love a kind neighbor with really good cookies out of zucchini season??!?  The only problem was...if you stood still long enough to politely snorkle down such delicious cookies, you did get a sense that you might be the next thing to be covered in lace, crochet, or knitting!

As an adult now, with my own flock of sheep, I no longer fear such worries, rather, I cherish them!  All those beautiful people will forever be vibrant and happy memories!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Think about it.

In today's media of all sorts targeted to women who knit or crochet, a new message is coming through strong & clear.  Screaming through carefully designed words and images is the message that knit or crochet improves or saves your mind and/or health, as though anyone who makes things with yarn is not well, or feeling downtrodden and in need of something.

When do you ever see men encouraged to buy tickets to a football game to "relieve depression" or "improve mood", or watch a basketball game to "slow cognitive decline", or "build confidence", or attend a golf tournament to "reduce memory loss" or "feel like you can accomplish something"??

Just wondering.

Friday, August 11, 2017

More of the view from the farm!

Would you find this anywhere else? lol Probably not!
Now you know what us shepherds see everyday...

Update on the yarns...Penny had a sensational week last week, selling out after several different customers picked her yarn out of the rows and rows of pretty colors!  That has never happened before, and we are truly amazed by how that went!  We also put several skeins of Beatrice out last week and she too sold fast, so we are hoping to have more on the table soon!  Awaiting labels are Beatrice's Violets plus Orange, as well as ewe Poppy's Buttercream and a lovely Lake Michigan type green from Minty.  New needle colors have been added, and we are working on new displays, so come on by to check out what's new, as things are changing every week!

Tonight, the shepherdess was soaking in the beauty of the evening, for something special happened.  Do you ever have a moment where something everyday just seems so beautiful for some reason?  We have a lot of those moments here, but tonight, one happened that will forever be in our minds.  As the sun was moving low in the sky, we let the horses out for an evening gallop.  (There are two horses living on Wheely Wooly Farm...Carumba the whinnying pretty girl, and Calipso...arguably the cutest pony in the whole wide world.)  As the horses flew out around a fence and headed for their favorite galloping space, their hooves beat a lovely sound on the ground.  Calipso, who has white socks on all four legs, was galloping the most beautiful little dressage gallop, all centered and balanced, head perfectly placed.  He flew across air, light, effortless, and glowing from the angled rays of the sun, with his white socks flashing in the prettiest way!  His long mane gracefully flew back and he seemed so free, so happy!!  We all stopped what we were doing and just watched, speechless.  Time seemed to stop for a bit as he galloped to the end of the pasture, turned, and galloped back, then turned and galloped some more.  The sound of his hooves perfect cadence, his body light, his socks so flashy!  When he finally settled into some grazing and a good roll, kicking his hooves high above his body, we cracked up at his pure delight in the evening!  The amazing thing is...he's 30 years old and an old man!  He has no teeth left at the end of his mouth with which to pull off grass anymore.  He limps from time to time, stiff from age.  Yet, on such a beautiful night, he got to gallop long and free.  Truly beautiful, a moment passed that will never be forgotten.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The View From Here...

This is the shepherd's view!
Sheep, sheepdogs, grass...a wonderful way of life!