Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ewe a day - Yara

We were expecting big things out of many of our ewes this year, but none came with more anticipation than Fanny, who is one of our best. Fanny had a stunning yearling fleece and we were hoping to get a ewe lamb with the same qualities. Yara is that ewe lamb. She is out of Fanny and Nitro. It’s not surprising we are getting so many fawn katmogets, because for several years, we bred almost exclusively with katmogets and there are certainly some double patterned ewes out there. I don’t know if Fanny is one of them, but she might be. At any rate, Yara is not double patterned and that gives us more options in the future as we try to bring more balance to out flock colors and patterns.

And that is it for the ewe-a-day posts for 2017. Lots of good ewes, which means we will have many stunning ewes for sale this spring. The bulk of them will be fawn katmogets (hopefully not all), but that likely means that there will be some exceptional quality ewes for sale that would not be if they were a different color/pattern. Too soon to say. Next up, breeding groups.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ewe a day - Lyanna

Lyanna is Meera’s twin. I won’t know until shearing which one I like better, but I think both are quite nice.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ewe a day - Meera Reed

I often get bored with fawn katmogets as any regular reader knows. They are born, I forget about them, and then evaluate in September/October. That’s usually when I wonder where they have been all summer and how they ended up that nice. That is true of this girl. This is Meera Reed out of Mustang Sally and Mr. Darcy. Quite frankly, I expect lambs from sheep like that to be exceptionally nice, but it’s still a treat when it happens. We are now several generations removed from our first attempts at fine Shetlands, and we should be seeing quality like this fairly routinely (and we are).

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ewe a day - Brienne of Tarth

Brienne of Tarth is one of our favorite ewe lambs from this spring. She was one of the first born also. Unfortunately, she was born outside in a cold rain when I wasn’t home, but I think that shows her toughness. She is out of Elizabeth Bennet, one of our finest ewes, and Nitro. Clearly, she looks like Nitro. She is very fine and has the extra fleece length we were looking for when we put that breeding pair together. As I work to add to our ultra fine spotted ewe list, I’ll be looking for more like her.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Gradient yarn from Natural colored wool

One of the nice things about sheep displaying the Katmoget (Kats) pattern is you get a small amount of wool that is darker than the main body.  Kats have dark wool on their lower body - ie the belly, neck and down the legs, and it has a natural gradient.

See the darker streak of wool down Milan's neck, a little bit you can see peeking out from her belly and back legs.  She is a fawn katmoget.

Unfortunately, this wool is usually skirted off for showing or selling a fleece as it can be dirty, maybe a little shorter, full of hay as the neck isn't covered by the coats.  Generally undesirable for a show/sale fleece.

Some kats have larger amounts darker wool extending a little further up the sides which is nice if you are interested in a mix of color.

I like to make gradient yarns with katmoget fleeces.  Usually there is only enough darker wool for one skein, the balance of the skeins are the main color, either fawn or grey.  I thought I would show how I do it.

Here is washed neck wool with nice concentration of dark and light fiber which I will be flick carding into locks to sort and spin

I carded the wool and you see here an assortment of shades unsorted

Sorted them to three shades, dark, medium and light.

Set the scale to zero to weigh each so I can split in half

Weigh the entire shade

Here is the 1/2 of the medium shade

Then start to spin the three groups into singles from light to dark.  As I am spinning my bowl of locks, I visually pull out the next level of shading from the bowl to keep the gradient really gentle and subtle.
A single of gradient wool

2 ply both gradient singles together for the final product

Ewe a day - Arya

Arya is out of Genoa and Nitro and is the little peanut from the set of triplets.  She is solid black which is terrific as black is a very popular color for our fleece customers, and hers is going to be very nice.  

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ewe a day - Sansa

Sansa is one of Genoa's triplets, sire is Nitro.  Happy to have a nice black ewe and look forward to getting her fleece this March.  She is the larger of the two black ewes we got from Genoa x Nitro.  Her little sister is Arya.  We didn't keep the moorit ram, had we done I'd have named him Bran...