I have always dreamed of running my own fibre processing business alongside the ever popular hand spinning workshops, and I am thrilled to announce that the time for dreaming is over. I have a plan! Thanks to my very clever husband I also have all of the fibre preparation equipment to process the fleeces more efficiently to get it in my online shop as quickly as possible.
Following a recent unexpected change to my working life (outside of spinning and fluff!) I have decided to seize the opportunity to realise that dream. As the fibre business will be online I shall be able to work it all around my other work and family commitments which sounds perfect. I can however envisage lots of late nights and early mornings though.
After all, I do have the raw product just happily growing in my fields in the form of rare breed North Ronaldsay sheep and Icelandic sheep, which although not a rare breed are very unusual in the UK. I chose the NR about 15 years ago and was instantly drawn to the fact that these delightful sheep have never undergone any breeding programmes to change them at all and therefore they remain as they would have been back in the Iron Age at least which I find just incredible. They are listed on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust watchlist as Vulnerable which means there are as few as 500 registered breeding ewes left and that fact scares me. So by buying my wool you will be directly helping me to preserve my flock and therefore the breed for future generations to enjoy.
I am always so excited by the wool from my sheep and it takes me on quite a journey. Obviously I know the genetics of my sheep but I never really know exactly what colour the lambs will be born and then have to wait for them to mature to see their true colours – in more way than one! The wool is all prepared by hand, by me but it isn’t until the fleece has be sheared, washed, dried, picked, carded, spun and finished that I can really see the characteristics and colour flecks in each fleece which produces almost a tweed effect yarn. And for that reason I shall be selling wool in whatever form from individual fleeces wherever possible to allow you to see the differences in each one. I shall post pictures of the whole process from sheep to knitted square and I shall include a lock of the original fleece to show the properties of that particular fleece. There will even be a photo included of the sheep who kindly donated the fleece for you to enjoy.
So whether you like to hand spin, knit, crochet, weave, needle or wet felt this amazing wool will lend itself so well. So come on, who’s up for preserving this ancient breed and stop me dreaming?