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0 In Behind The Scenes

behind the scenes: we kiss sheep

This weekend was the 40th Annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

It was, of course, amazing. And of course, I bought THINGS and saw PEOPLE… and we petted 3740173408174 sheep. We didn’t get much of a chance to take pics of the vendors, stuff for sale – I always feel weird about doing that without getting permission, and it was soooo crowded that it would be difficult – so you’ll have to settle for pics of sheep.

 

Rob is truly the Sheep Whisperer. Actually, all animals think he's the bomb.

Rob is truly the Sheep Whisperer. Actually, all animals think he’s the bomb.

 

One of my ongoing projects for learning as much as I can about my profession is to explore sheep breeds. I’m not the only one out there doing it, of course – since the intensely informative primer The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn came out, a lot of fiber artists are exploring the rare breeds and getting educated. When I go to fiber festivals now, one of the things I always try to do is bring back at least one example of a breed I’ve never spun to work with. This time around, I managed to snag two!
One of the scores was an 8oz bag of Finn x Dorset. I’ve worked with Dorset before, but not Finn, nor the two as a cross. It’s relatively soft, but the big draw is how bouncy it is. Not as bouncy as BFL, but it’s got some life to it. I’ll definitely talk about it more when I spin it up. It’s a lovely white color, too.
The other remarkable wool was a bag of Manx Loaghtan – an “at risk” breed from the Isle of Manx. They look a bit like Jacob sheep, with four to six horns happening all over their heads, but they’ve got a mouse-brown coat instead of the Jacob’s browns and whites. The fiber was MUCH softer than I expected from looking at it, and it seems like it will want to be spun finely. I plan to try blending some in batts as well as playing around with spinning it solo.

Pic from Wikipedia. Used with permission.

Pic from Wikipedia. Used with permission.

There were also some AMAZING things that will be getting their own post – spinning fiber kits from Rainbow Rapunzel, aka Linda Evans… the prettiest Hobbledehoy batt I could find, as well as some dyed add-ins from her… and more! But for now, let’s show the SHEEP.

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