November 27, 2022

From the Pastures: Color combinations

Summer is certainly here with the hot weather. We like to say that we are having Georgia weather in northern Illinois. Luckily we had a lot of rain this spring and the pasture did grow well. In the last two weeks it has been dry. Crops and grass are starting to look a little brown and now we need more rain.

Lambing is all completed for this year. The Shetland ewes all lambed without any issues. All singles except for one set of twins. As luck would have it, more rams than ewes were born. This year we used a solid black ram and the lamb colors are really interesting. Several lambs had a black color on their legs and stomachs. The rest of their body and heads are a dark gray. This pattern is called Katmoget in Shetlands. One ram lamb is a brown color with a white head. He has brown circles around his eyes. This pattern is called Sholmet.

There are two ewes with a light gray color and one with a black body and gray spots. I am excited about all the gray colors. Grey Shetland wool spins to a very nice yarn. I need to get some pictures taken and start marketing the ram lambs. My niece and granddaughter are going to take some lambs to the county fair. They are working on halter breaking them. Everyone in our family is excited about attending the fair this year in person.

The mill continues to be busy making yarn and roving from all types of fiber. Several of our fall festivals are going to be in person this year. I am trying to plan ahead to make some interesting colors and blends of fiber from my wool.

After shearing, I was able to make some nice oatmeal-colored Shetland wool. Usually I leave the Shetland wool the natural color, but this yarn looks perfect for indigo dying. Indigo is a plant and is what is used for dying jeans. It is a lot of fun to dye with. The longer the yarn is left in the dye, the darker it becomes. This makes it easy to make variegated or multicolored yarn. I will let you know how it turns out next month. Enjoy the nice weather.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.