Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hand Spun

It's been a few years, but I used to raise sheep.  Not just any sheep.  I had dairy sheep.  No, not dairy goats.  Dairy Sheep.  Like the kind of animal they milk in Europe to create Roquefort Cheese.  I loved my dairy sheep.  They were super friendly and easy to get along with. 

Flash forward a bit, and again I have sheep.  But not dairy sheep.  Oh, I WISH they were dairy sheep, because dairy sheep were so sweet.  These are Border Leicester Ewes.  Yes, that's right, like in the movie, Babe!  They are a bit more timid than my dairy girls were, but that's okay.  They're still relatively cute, and come spring?  I'll have mounds of soft, luxurious crimps and curls to spin!

 Natasha, a white two year old ewe.

Border Leicester sheep come in two colors; white or black.  In the sheep world, white is typically the more popular among commercial breeders because you can dye the wool to meet the needs of the consumer.  Black sheep (or other colors) are less sought after by the big time outfits, but small, local farms often find a market for what is called 'Naturally Colored' fleeces.  While black cannot be colored over, many breeds have lighter, silvery fleeces that end up with very deep, vibrant colors when dyed. 

Ebony is the black sheep of my flock.  She has a little Romney in her geneology, 
giving her a bit looser curl than Natasha.

Until spring, though, I cannot utilize my home grown wool, so I've been buying some fleeces and roving to keep my spinning wheel and hands happy.  Roving has already been washed and partially processed, and comes in long, well...what would you call it?  A thing.  It's a long thing.  Like a snake.  Okay, that works, it's a long thick snake of wool.  Sometimes I buy white, that I can dye, and sometimes I buy previously colored and carded roving, such as the one shown below.

Merino Roving

The bright stuff above looks like a carnival.  I thought it would make a fun yarn.  Boy, was I surprised when it spun out into these lovely shades of blue!  Who would have guessed?

And I shall call it Ocean Breeze, 
for it reflects the water, sky, and delicate shades of sunrise on the beach.

This yarn and more are available on my Cowgirl Shepherd Etsy Shop.  Please click your way on over to see what other scrumptious yarns I've been spinning up!

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