I'm taking a break from my efforts to sort out the Norwegian spaelsaus (short-tailed sheep) to highlight a wonderful project that is right in line with the celebration of wool known as Wovember. It's The Shepherd and The Shearer, and if you want to be part of it here's the sign-up page, which I'm posting at the beginning since in the first twenty-four hours after the announcement at least half of the available two hundred spaces sold out.
Now I'll back up and give you part of the story, with links later to more details.
1. Shepherd grows wool.
2. Shearer shears.
3. Special yarn is spun.
4. Two exceptional designers develop patterns for the sweater you just naturally wear all the time for work, play, and comfort.
5. A limited number of people, who have signed up in advance, get the results of all this next fall: special pattern booklet, enough yarn to knit one of the sweaters (they're thinking about an add-on for enough yarn to knit both), and, at the end,
6. Knitter knits: a classy, classic, year-in/year-out, wearable sweater (maybe two).
Oh, and there'll be a bag with that fantastic logo on it.
The shearer is Emily Chamelin. She specializes in shearing sheep these days, and has to refer out to other shearers for alpacas, llamas, and goats because just doing sheep she has about four hundred shearing customers in a season. She works hard. She does fine work.
There aren't enough shearers working these days, and one of the side benefits of this project will be the establishment of a scholarship fund to get women to sheep-shearing school. Learning to shear doesn't involve huge expense, but it takes physical, psychological, and intellectual strength, as well as a love for animals, and folks who have that combination of attributes may not have the resources to get themselves over the hurdle of training, for one reason or other. In addition, women may not think of this as work that's open to them, and there's (obviously) no reason they shouldn't. This scholarship idea embodies focused encouragement to solve a few problems with just one of the extra goodies wrapped up in The Shepherd and The Shearer.
Moving on to the exceptional designers of the patterns:
If you'd like the back story, check out these links:
I'm looking forward to following the progress of this super idea! A whole year of delicious anticipation, and sweaters that will warm next winter in the knitting . . . and probably decades beyond in the wearing, because of the care with which the fibers have been grown and processed and the yarns have been constructed.