Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Under The Son Stilton

Elaine wanted a picture of Castello.  Well, I'll introduce Stilton first, then on to Castello.

UnderTheSon Stilton - moorit, C. Pegasus/UTS Sateen
And no, that isn't a beard!  He got into some foxtail like grass (I have no idea what it is).  This ram, and his twin sister, have had my eye since the minute they were born.  Elegance and presence are the two words that best describe them.  I went "Wow!" when they were born.  Dense, fine, crimpy, dark moorit. 

Stilton's rear

Stilton's fleece - fine crimp with deep curvature.

UTS Blue Castello - this is the best I can get for a body shot.  He'll hold his head up high when he is getting his scratches, but  I don't remember the last time we've had a more laid back ram.  Stocky, but not over done, he is a different type than Stilton.  He and Stilton are actually about the same size.

Castello's fleece - note the extreme fineness and tiny, yet deep amplitude, crimp structure.  This structure is what gives Shetland fleece 'memory' and bounce and is so essential in soft, long lasting Shetland knitted garments (and is quite different than Merino crimp and amplitude!).  This is why Shetland knitted lace, especially the very fine lace, sometimes looks like a crumpled mess when it is being knitted and why Shetlanders use what is called a 'raepin string'.  A raepin string is run through the knitting and tied to the knitter's clothing so the knitting can be stretched and the stitches more easily seen while knitting.  Pretty clever, eh?  Yet, this 'mess' is transformed into a webbed beauty when the knitted lace is washed and stretched on a frame or board or with (nowadays) lace wires.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Blue Castello

This is a fleece shot of Blue Castello, a premium superfine emsket ram lamb (B/b).  Emsket and mioget are two of the least common colors of Shetland sheep and especially in fine fleeced ones.  They are highly prized by spinners because they are so rare and because the colors blend very well with alpaca, mohair, and angora.  Emsket has been the very hardest color to get this finely crimped and this ram lamb is the best so far that we've produced.  His fleece is fantastic in type.  Very soft and silky handle, very finely crimped, and it is dense.  Castello will be put to 4 or 5 mioget and emsket ewes to concentrate on these modified colors - all lambs should be either mioget or emsket.  Sorry, but he does not like to pose for the camera - this one was taken while he was lying under one of the hay wagons.  Very laid back in personality, nothing really fazes him.  I even had a halter on him a few days ago and he was almost trained in just a few minutes.  He did take notice and act like he was at a show, with great presence (but I forgot to get a picture).  Not freaking out doing the flop, drop, and roll like some do.   I like calm rams.  Too bad he's not signed up to show.

Blue Castello (UTS Stronsay/UTS Formosa Jade)

Bella and the pup are playing again.  This time I caught her in the act of using the waterer as her pool.  And yes, I cleaned it out . . . for the third time today (so far).

 This is better, although I have to rinse the algae slime off her.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

new Shetland Croft Shawl & UTS logo

My latest creation - the Shetland Croft Shawl.

Made with my handspun Shetland wool, naturally colored of course, in fingering/lt sport weight.  Perfect for staying on the shoulders while at the computer or even working in the kitchen.  No fussing and pulling it up or trying to wrap it around the neck, this lightweight, soft, and warm little shawl doesn't go anywhere.  Even though I've made many shawls that were triangular (woven, crocheted, and knitted), some that were rectangular (felted, woven, and knitted), and even a circle shawl and a tie shawl, this Shetland Croft shawl wins hands down in my book.  I'll be making at least another one of this in the near future.

Shetland Croft Shawl

 I've also designed a new logo for the farm and played around with putting it on a transfer!  Stash bags have been made with our farm name and logo.  These measure appr. 12 x 16".   If you order at least $100 in fiber goods, you will receive a free bag (if I have them in stock).  Or you can get one for $5.

The puppy is growing up.  She and Bella were playing the other morning during lamb training.  Bella ended up jumping in the auto waterer several times, using it as her personal pool.  Hence the reason they are both so muddy.  

If you are interested in any of the sale sheep and can pick them up at WSWF, give me a holler.  Here is S'More Monterey Jack's fleece - he'll be there and is for sale.

S'More Monterey Jack

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sheep For Sale Aug 2013

This is a picture heavy blog post.
Dewormed lambs today and got group shots of sale sheep.   We have over a dozen adult ewes for sale, 17 ewe lambs (some breedstock/show quality, some pet/fiber quality), and a few select ram lambs.  There is also a black yearling ram for sale as well - Vementry, and possibly a 2 year old ram.  We also have 13 crossbred ewe lambs for sale too.

Adult and Yearling Shetland ewes (shown in the below group photos)
Adults are proven producers with good fleeces and conformations.
Yearlings and Adults range from $125-300

Yearlings 2012
Taransay - white (Dungaree/Tralee)
Eriskay - black HST spotted (C. Pegasus/SP Orchid)
Ballet - grey katmoget (Velour/Allemande)
Jura - black/shaela (Walden/Jade)
Fara - fawn (Dungaree/Ellie)
Shuna - white (Perse/Bombycina)

Ellie - fawn (Galway/SP Cecila), 2006
Morchella - grey (Drum Jings/TK Prairie), 2007
Allison - fawn katmoget (B. Dreamie/TK Prairie), 2009
Shalimar - shaela (B. Dreamie/Shawnee), 2009
Monaco - grey, spotted iglet (Minder/Morel), 2009
RoseDale - fawn, (Galway/SP Cecila), 2009
Red Rose - fawn katmoget (B. Dreamie/Rahab), 2010
Moire - black (WS 0923/Mercure), 2011
S'More Minuet - fawn (Apache/Fantasy), 2001

Adults and yearling ewes

Adults and yearling ewes

Adults and yearling ewes

Adults and yearling ewes

2013 Ewe lambs (shown below in several group photos)
I did not separate out the breedstock quality from the pet quality, sorry!

Breedstock/show quality - $300-400 each.  Outstanding conformations and fleeces!
Milleen - black (Earl Grey/Moreen)
Crema Agria - black (C. Pegasus/Ceylon)
Anari - white (Stronsay/Assam) NOT SHOWN - in the WI to go group
Parmesan - white (C. Pegasus/Paxina) NOT SHOWN - in the WI to go group
Grana - moonspotted black/shaela (Stronsay/Galerina)
Serat - moorit (Velour/Samba)
Rigotte - black smirslet (C. Pegasus/Rhumba)
Piora - white (Earl Grey/Pashmina)
Anjou - fawn katmoget (Stronsay/Jasmine) NOT SHOWN - in the WI to go group
Mycella - grey katmoget (Velour/Mirky, aka "White Monkey")

Fiber pets $125 ea - these have outstanding fleeces!  
black - (Cleggan/WS 0932)
dk grey katmoget - (Velour/Samba)
moorit - (Stronsay/Minuet)
black - (Velour/Shalimar)
fawn katmoget - (Velour/Shalimar)
black krunet - (Stronsay/Damask)

2013 Ewe lambs

2013 Ewe lambs

2013 Ewe lambs

2013 Ewe lambs

2013 Ewe lambs

2013 Ewe lambs

2013  Ram Lambs
We kept back a few select ram lambs for sale.  The rest were culled to market.  We only sell rams that are good enough to represent the breed standard and to show!  A couple of other ones that are available were previously posted a week or two ago.  Ram lambs range from $300-350.

C. Pegasus/Cambric - twin.  White. Very fine, very soft.  Refined build.  Excellent horns.

C. Pegasus/Cambric - twin.  White. Very fine, very soft.  Refined build.  Excellent horns.  This one is a mirkface. 

C. Pegasus/Viva - twin.  Grey yuglet.  Very wide behind.  See fleece below.

C. Pegasus/Viva grey yuglet fleece.  Very fine, very soft.  Biggy to see crimp.

Stronsay/Cinnerelle - triplet.  Moorit smirslet.  Scurred (half poll), very fine, very soft.  See more pics below.

Stronsay/Cinnerelle moorit smirslet ram - very wide rear.

Stronsay/Cinnerelle moorit smirslet ram's fleece - very fine, very soft. 

C. Pegasus/Radison - triplet, black.  Refined.  A bit smaller because he is a triplet. See pic below for fleece.

C. Pegasus/Radison black ram's fleece - very soft and very fine.  

North Country Cheviot/Shetland Ewe lambs
Here are a few of the cross lambs from last month as I forgot to get a picture of them today.  They are huge!  $160 each.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shetland Fleece Grading Chart

In the Fine Fleece Shetland Sheep Association, there are a couple of charts that were made to benefit the good of the members and the spinners and knitters of Shetland wool.  The charts are being combined, revised, and updated to better differentiate between the 'types' of Shetland wool.  Types, you say?  Yes, types, as in the variations that pervade this breed.

Shetland wool is described in the breed standard as follows:  extra fine, soft texture, longish, wavy, and well closed. This is also a good description of the historical Shetland wool, though the terms silky or cottony come up occasionally to describe it, as well as the word short.  In this blog, I've repeatedly described what those terms mean (as a side note, the past several years of blog posts are in archive right now for publishing at a later date in another form).  

So, to help everyone, here is an 'in-progress' updated form.  It differentiates between the informally recognized 'types' of Shetland wool - Flockbook, SSS, and Dual Coated.

Flockbook type is the breed standard type and ranges from grade 1-3.  This type allows for fleece that can be cobweb lace fine to an outer sweater wear garment, the typical range for Shetland fleece.

SSS type is the SAME as Flockbook/breed standard but also includes a premium quality for exceptional softness, fineness, and handle.  This is due to lower SD/CV and usually CEM as well.  These numbers lower the SF (spin fineness) lower than the AFD, which is the hallmark for premium, exceptional handling Shetland fleece.  Many SSS breeders, Flockbook breeders, and Fine Fleece North American breeders have intensely focused on breeding Shetland sheep with these premium handling fleeces. The range is from grades 1-3, the same as the Flockbook type.  The designation of this type - SSS - is in no way a denigration of the Flockbook type, but only a clarification between the slightly higher SD and CV of the average Flockbook fleece as found in fleeces 'out of the bin' in the wool warehouse and an exceptionally fine quality Shetland fleece.   Just think of the SSS type as the 'bulls eye' of the breed standard.

Dual coated type can incorporate the breed standard, but also falls outside that range to include strong guard hairs (which are not described or mentioned in the breed standard).  This type includes grades 4 and 5.  (Note:  the word 'primitive' is not used to describe this fleece because, for Shetlands, very fine, crimpy Flockbook/SSS type fleeces are ancient, primitive, and well described in historical documents).  You can be raising Shetlands in the US with pure first importation stock (Dailley stock) and still be raising Flockbook or even SSS fleece type.  Dual coated type just refers to a dual coated fleece that has a higher SD and CV, because of the presence of guard hairs, and sometimes a higher AFD, producing fleece that is longer (>6/7"), less crimpy, less bouncy, and coarser.  The wool must be spun bulkier than normal or be hand separated into undercoat and guard hairs.  The SF is higher than the AFD, meaning that the fleece spins coarser than the AFD.

Click on the chart to biggy it.

Your thoughts on this information is welcome!