Tis the season for lambs and yarn

Can’t share photos of my lambs yet. I was off gallivanting at fiber festivals and events last October and late to provide a date for my ewes. Most shepherds, however, are either all done or in the thick of it. The little sweetie above is a Montadale lamb from Child’s Montadales in West Virginia.

I was on a mission to get some photos of Montadales and see if baby lambs would like our Montadale baby yarn; they did! They were really cute and their curiosity overcame their caution pretty quickly. That little black one was the flock trouble maker, first to touch it.

I asked Dick Childs what he did with his wool. He answered “you don’t want to know.” Well that answered my question, but I asked again anyway. “I burn it” he said. Mr Childs is a realistic farmer. Unlike some of us (read: me) he isn’t willing to lose money just because you (read: I) think it’s worth it. Even though he has some very nice sheep (champion show sheep), it costs him more to hire a shearer than he can sell the fleece for.

This is the story that Sue and I heard so often that motivated us to start Solitude Wool. He was really interested in what we were doing (especially paying a much higher price for fleece) and said if we were interested in his wool, he would hire a shearer (he is clipping them himself now, just getting the wool off). I don’t think we can this year. We are pretty full up of Montadale, but I want to! I just hate that good wool goes to waste, and it does!

You all can help. What we need is people to rediscover what a fabulous fiber wool is and appreciate and buy it…at all levels, from spinning fibers to yarn to crafted items and manufactured goods too. Save the sheep. Save the Farms. Save open pasture land. Okay, I worked myself up. No more coffee this morning and I’ll step down…

Montadale baby yarn on cones

The wool in our new batch of Montadale Baby yarn (a big box just arrived!) is from Saffer’s Montadales in Maryland. They have a good sized flock and Sue and Bill went just after Thanksgiving for shearing day. I had dyed all of our first batch and have been waiting for this to arrive so I can do more. But right now we can offer it undyed on cones. Okay all you weavers: how great to have a soft, washable wool to weave a baby blanket, or something nice for a big baby of any age? We pulled out a few 1 pound and 8 to 9 oz cones to get on the web site. Sue and I are not very skilled on the web site and need help (calvary is on it’s way) to get both the skeins and the cones up correctly…but there is a bad version that will let you order the 1 pound size on the site. Know that with all our yarn on cones, we most likely have lots of cones of different weights. We can put together an order to closely match your project needs.

Jacob sheep, see it now, spin it later…?

Sue and I visited Shiloh Manor Farm in Loudoun County, Virginia to see their small flock of Jacob sheep in full fleece right before they were sheared. Oh they are so attractive! We hope to have some Jacob roving this year.

I really should save these photos and send them out when we actually have product to sell, but I’ll rationalize it by helping you understand how long it takes even to make roving. The clock is starting. Will let you know when we have it made. But also, I wanted to show your these Jacob lambs. How cute are they?!

Farmers Markets this weekend (rain could be a problem)

We will be packed up and ready to go with Alpaca/Merino, Karakul (three new colors), Tunis, Romney (two new handpaint colors), the Shropshire double twist, Suffolk/Dorset (on sale), Montadale baby, yarn on cones for weaving, roving, odds and ends and I have three sheep pelts this week. The weather forecast is not so promising, but if it’s questionable, I will go with the most optomistic forecast and hope for the best. I don’t want to miss! Check the web site by 6:30 am the morning of the market if you want to know if we are NOT coming. If there isn’t anything, we will be there. Falls Church, Virginia market on Saturday from 9 to noon and Dupont Circle, Wash DC from 10 to 1.

Thank you!

Gretchen

One Response to “Tis the season for lambs and yarn”

  1. judith Says:

    what a shame for that waste of wool…. if i was on your side of the pond, i’d order some to support, but am based in the uk… keep up the good work! thanks for sharing

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