During the past year I have become obsessed by farming programmes on the telly and consequently sheep. The lambs, breeds and the wonderful farmers that raise them have become a renewed fascination. My own baby sheep design – Sam the Lamb has become a new favourite.
There are so many programmes that cover farming on British telly – that you could spend many hours, many evenings immersing yourself in the wonderful stories and landscapes. My own family poke fun at me and say that they think if I needed to I could deliver a lamb, solo.
I don’t think that is true… but my evening past time has highlighted a number of issues for me. Farming is such hard work and is not ever just a job, but has to be a passion and vocation. It shocks me how little a farmer gets (if anything) for the shorn fleece. Wool – once a prized commodity has almost no value – yet it is such a wonderful material. It keeps you warm when you are cold and has wonderful wick-away properties when you are hot.
I won’t pretend that I have stayed loyal to wool. I do love to wear it. But I have plenty of fleece in my wardrobe. I have also enjoyed and used lots of synthetic yarns and certainly blends using cotton and bamboo in my yarn work. But watching the programmes has made me think.
What has made me laugh is that for some breeds the farmers seem to do a full wash and blow dry on the wool coats before a show. In other parts of the country the stray fibres will be plucked from the sheep’s face like a full beauty session. They will then have the lovely cream fleece rubbed either with peat or sprayed with a colour to turn a cream down to a slightly darker beige. This means that the colour of their head and legs stand out! My word these woolly divas get the full treatment.
The opening of my eyes to new breeds across the nation has encouraged me to make my little sheep in a new colour. I think my Lamb looks rather fetching in their county-show style fawn wool. Certainly very cosy.
I have put this new colourway in my kit selection which you can find in the shop. You might have noticed that part of the blog has a new shop feature. This will enable me to launch some new patterns and new products straight to you. Tell me what you think.
Watching the farming programmes has made me think of animals that I have yet to try. I haven’t yet made a cow and it might be very wonderful to create a highland cow. So whilst it might seem a very idle past time watching very hard working farmers from the comfort of my sofa, the crochet hook is always in hand and the yarn is ready to celebrate another treasured animal.