Dreaming of Shetland: Thank you!

Friday’s post about my visit to help with shearing a lot of Shetland sheep, like that trip itself, requires an array of thank-yous that would not fit within even my generally overlong post tolerances. Neither that post nor the trip that was its subject would have happened without the Dreaming of Shetland project, which was … Read more

Wool and the idea of terroir

This is another post about my trip to mainland Scotland, Orkney, and Shetland, although it's also another digression from the chronological/topical sequence. It's about fleeces. And because my blog posts are never long enough, I'll add that the Rare Breeds Survival Trust has just released its 2014 Watchlist of at-risk breeds. New to the list is Devon Closewool, … Read more

Orkney: Getting to and from North Ronaldsay

North Ronaldsay is the farthest north island Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. It's where "those seaweed-eating sheep" live. A few other types of sheep eat seaweed, but this is the breed that's best known for it. In a later post I'll include lots of photos of sheep, but first … Read more

Orkney – Kirbuster Farm Museum

Several sites in Orkney allow a visitor to see the progression of human habitation. The earliest is Skara Brae. After that, we went to Kirbuster Farm Museum, a massive leap forward in time but one in which the types of structures and living spaces implemented at Skara Brae were still evident. Kirbuster originated in the … Read more

Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s 2011 Watchlist for sheep

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust, which monitors the status of livestock breeds in the British Isles, has published its 2011 Watchlist of breeds that need attention to stay, as they say, off the slippery slope to extinction. From the whole list (a PDF), I'm focusing here on the sheep: Categories are based on numbers of … Read more

Teaching classes about rare-breed wools

Start by saying that I love teaching people about the different types of wools, both for people who spin and for people who start their fiber pursuits with yarn. Within the past six months I've gotten requests both to record the DVD set about spinning rare-breed wools that Interweave recently released and to teach some … Read more