July 15, 2024

From the Pastures: Hooked on Shetland yarn

Summer is finally here in northern Illinois. Temperatures are going to be hot this weekend. We call it Georgia weather, teasing our daughter who lives in Georgia. Luckily, we have had more rain than they have had.

Our pasture was cut and baled this past week. It was pretty long, but the rain delayed when it could be cut. The yield was great, allowing us to sell several bales. Last year, the sheep did not eat all the hay. Maybe I need more sheep or some horses again. Probably more economical to sell the hay.

A family interested in raising Shetland sheep for wool purchased a couple of our lambs and a yearling ewe. Nice to have a new producer interested in Shetlands. The Shetlands are easy to raise, very hardy, good mothers and their wool makes great yarn.

Speaking of yarn, I am totally out of Shetland yarn and the time until the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival is ticking down. I plan to wash a bunch of the 2024 shearing in June and then spin it in July. There is some nice dark brown wool from the rams. This would be fun to twist with some white, making a two-color natural colored yarn. This pattern is popular with knitters. Also working on making colored felted batts. I am experimenting with some fun color combinations.

Recently I was saddened to learn of the passing of a couple gentlemen who have been involved in the Illinois Shearing Contest for years. They both contributed countless hours and expertise to assuring the contest’s success over the years. Harold and Mic, thank you for your dedication to the contest. It was a pleasure to work with you.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.