Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sheep to Shawl.......

Before we even built this farm, I knew I wanted to raise sheep. I was born and raised on a horse farm. I had lots of other animals growing up, and did many other "farm" chores but we didn't have sheep. I'm not sure what the desire to have them really was but it wasn't long after we built this farm that we added sheep to the mix.

We hadn't been here very long when I received a phone call about a very large ewe that really needed a home and would I come and get her. I really didn't need more but who can't make room for one more sheep? It was coming winter and this sheep was alone and needed a home. So...........we made the short trip, took one look at her and brought her home in the back of our Ford Explorer. It took three of us to load her! She rode all the way home with her head over the seat on Tyler's shoulder. We loved her already. Her name is Freida.


We have had her five years now and we love her more than we ever thought we could. She is a real Maine mutt. Her breeding consists of Lincoln, Romney, Corriedale, Blue Hexam & Border Leicester. We discovered the first time we had her sheared that she has a big hernia on her tummy. Our vet advised us not to breed her because of this. It does not trouble her and she doesn't have any other health issues. Her wool is many beautiful shades of grays and browns and she gives us 15 pounds of wool each year. She has become the "matriarch" of our flock and babysits all the lambs. She wears a collar with a bell and we know where everyone is all the time just by listening for Freida's bell.

"Granny Freida"

Over the course of the years that we have had her, I have made several shawls from her wool. Some woven, some knitted. Their is nothing like a soft, cozy shawl on a winter's evening. Below are some of my shawls.

Handwoven wool shawl. The gray is handspun Freida. Woven on a portable Ashford Rigid Heddle loom.

Handwoven wool - angora shawl. Woven on an Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom.

Handwoven wool - angora shawl. The brown wool is "Freida" wool. Woven on an Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom. Now owned by my friend, Jan. Doesn't she look lovely?

Knit shawl made from Freida - 2007 fleece. This was a gift for my Mom last year.

Handspun, knit alpaca - wool blend shawl. The fiber was a gift from a dear friend of mine. It was a joy to spin and knit. This is a small shawl and adorns the back of my needlework chair.

Hand knit, hand dyed shetland-finn wool shawl. I finished this shawl the beginning of the week. Just in time for some real cold weather that has blown in. I've decided to keep this one for myself :)
Freida's fleece from this year is at the processors. It was darker than the last few years. I've asked her to spin it all worsted weight. I have a friend who wants enough yarn to make a couple of sweaters. I'm hoping this winter to set my rigid heddle loom up again and weave another shawl with some of the yarn.
I love all my sheep, but Freida is a special old gal. She will live out her days here at Tylerfarm.


Kara said...

Beautiful. I love the stocking in the last post as well.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Is it wordless Thursday as well? Would love an explanation of what looks like some beautiful weaving. And if that is a stocking in the previous post (instead of a sock), is it a pattern you can share? I've never knitting socks, but have long thought it would be fun to knit Christmas stockings!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Either I commented too soon, or you hit post too soon. At any rate, I'm glad I checked back to read all about a very special sheep. :-)

Deb said...

Thank you - glad you enjoyed the photos :)

My fault....I hit post too soon :(
The "stocking" is actually a pair of socks. The camera made them look rather large against that black mat. I love to knit socks as much as I like to make shawls. It was a "make it up as you go" pattern but I'd be happy to write it down and send to you :)

Kara said...

I am glad I checked back too. I would love patterns for a knitted shawl using homespun yarn. I was just thinking some of my new roving would be great for that, as I was struggling to size a hat for my hubby. I have some Sheltland Alpaca blends, and some a wonderful Kid mohair, cashmere, Shetland blend that would make a wonderful wrap or shawl.

Nancy K. said...

I love knitting shawls as well. AND wearing them! I keep my house at 50 degrees all winter so have a number of Shetland wool shawls scattered about. I'm finishing up another one right now ~ just finished plying the yarn for the edging. I think shawls are probably my favorite thing to knit. Of course, I haven't tried socks yet. Maybe I'm scared.....?


Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Deb, lucky Frieda, that she found you - your knitting is gorgeous.

Thanks for the story of that special girl. AND a peek at your beautiful knitting and weaving.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Fabulous shawls and I especially love knowing who they came from. Frieda sounds like a real gem.

Pamela said...

I so enjoyed reading about Freida. I think it's so wonderful that you and your family and friends have items made from her wool. In a way, even after Freida is gone, she'll still be there in the shawls and sweaters. Just such a great way to honor a great old gal.

Deb said...

kara, the pattern for the knitted gray and brown shawl is very simple and adaptable for any yarn. I'd be happy to send it to you if you want to send me your email address :)

nancy k,
brrrrrr, you are one frugal lady! I am really enjoying the shawl - it's so cozy. We have two woodstoves and when hubby gets the living room stove roaring in the evening, I definately don't need the shawl :)
Socks are intimidating but don't be afraid - once you take the leap it's a piece of cake and you will absolute love it!

Thank you :) I'm glad you enjoyed reading about Freida. She's quite a gal for sure.

Thank you and thanks for visiting -
It was my pleasure to share Freida's story with you all. I'm lucky to have her and to have items to cherish when she isn't with us any longer. She will definately be missed!

DayPhoto said...

I love sheep also. I grew up raising sheep, Southdown and Sufflox, they were my pets and friends.

Sheep are so trusting and in many delicate.

Thank you for letting us meet Freida.


kristi said...

Okay, between you & Kara I have to really learn how to knit and do something with all my wool!! Your shawls are beautiful and those stockings are just way to fun!! I love the story of Frieda!

Anonymous said...

Freida sounds so nice and her wool makes beautiful shaws(with a little help from you, of
Deb, you are so talented.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Drew said...

Cool sheep bro.

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