Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pippi's Fleece

I’m crazy about wool!   I love touching, feeling, and caressing its silkiness.  I even love the smell; the lanolin makes me feel more connected to the earth.  Growing up, I remember how special it was getting that new wool coat. 

My appreciation only grew when I started to spin wool.  Every breed creates its own 
unique fiber.  Some are short and springy, others are long and curly. 

Boarder Leicester wool

 Romney/Merino mix wool

Finnish Landrace wool

When I realized every wool spins a different yarn - no pun intended- I became a wool addict, scouring fiber festivals.   In every booth I saw fleeces waiting for me to make into beautiful and unique yarns.  Boarder Leicester and Romney sheep produce some of my favorite fibers, but to my surprise the best wool came from a ewe living right in my own backyard.

Pippi's fleece

We had an old soapstone sink left on our property.    Some of our friends were remodeling their farm house.  So we traded the sink for Pippi, a Finnish Landrace ewe.   I was happy to get rid of the sink and they were happy to get rid of their ewe.

If Mary's sheep was as white as snow, Pippi's fleece was as black as coal.   Sheep, like people, can grow old and gray, and with every passing year Pippi's fleece lighten into the beautiful soft shade of silver it is now.
Pippi on left in 2004  

Pippi in 2006

Pippi in 2012

I treasure Pippi's fleece every year.  I love spinning, knitting and weaving with it.
As I was putting some woolens in the cedar chest that no longer fit the children, I noticed the color change with every sweater and scarf, and smiled knowing that Pippi's fleece has helped mark the passage of time.

Nola Fournier's  book "In Sheep's Clothing"  is a great handbook of different breeds and wool characteristics.

- Trish


Lauren Scheuer said...

Thank you for sharing this. I had no idea of these subtle changes in a sheep's fleece, and I love that it has special meaning to you since you've experienced it all from start to finish.
Your passion is evident. :)

Tilly's Nest said...

Wow! This is amazing! I never knew these things. I love that it also has a sentimental meaning for you as well. When things connect with our hearts, I believe it causes a passion :) Thank you for linking up to our blog hop today~Melissa

Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl said...

What a great post! Hope you will link up to our blog fest:

Gretchen Stuppy Carlson said...

Love those photos - what a beautiful sheep. We just got some pygora goats and I can't wait to shear them!