Sunday, September 6, 2009
What the Frak is up with Shetland Sheep Fiber?
Ok, I have heard people poo pooing Shetland sheep fiber just one two many times! How has this happened? Well I have a theory and breeders are the bad guys. Maybe not on purpose, but, the wild sheep that live on shetland isles are renowned for their fine fleeces. I think the need to breed the "perfect" sheep, has cost our state side shetlands their soft fleece heritage. I have sheep that do not qualify to be "registered" because their tails are not a perfect fluke shape, therefore they are culls (a nice way of saying throwaways), but, my sheep have fine, soft, luxury wool. I have sheep that came from one of the most respected farms in Oregon, they look perfect, have a pedigree that goes back to the original lines in Canada, they have a much courser fleece. One, even has the much sought after "single coat" that is all the rage in Shetlanddom, course, course, course! My 9 year old ewe, too long of tail, eyes set to wide, has double coated fleece that is so soft, it does not need to be dehaired! One of the most disappointing moments I have had in my life, was, going out to my lambs with the total intent of scrutinizing everything about them! I came to the decision after much torture, to only feel the wool. Don't get me wrong on this, I understand the need for certain characteristics, but I think that once money is involved, people try to create a want, a "we can improve them, make them better" attitude. Sheep just want to be sheep. But I maybe I am full of crap. Whatever..... Roberta, my friend, my old lady sheep, you have taught me the true value of what's important in a sheep. Your imperfection in the eye of most shepherd's, gives me comfort, warmth and most of all, a soft fleece!