From Farm: Shetlandia takeover

From Farm - Shetlandia takeover

Let’s talk about the sheep!!! Near my home is Tall Cotton Farm, a lovely place where Scott Drabik raises Shetland sheep and Border Collie stock dogs. He chose shetlands because they flock less than some other breeds, making them more of a challenge for the dogs in training. They’re adorable and fun to watch, and their fleece comes in all. of. the. Colors. White? You betcha! Brown? Yep! looking for some lovely gray? Ohhhh yeah, we’ve got you. Some of them even have all of the hues on ONE fleece, called a Badger fleece. 

In more recent years, these natural colors have fallen out of favor, giving way to many more white sheep than multicolor. I have to say, though, that  I love a natural fleece in all its glory. We’ve been working on showcasing as many tones of the shetland as we can. This has a few hurdles, like minimum weights for processing, but we’ve done our best to create three yarns that give an idea of the wonderful variety and still have enough in a run to stock up our booth.

These yarns, we’ve called them Shetlandia, have been a bit of time in the making. I’ve been purchasing Scott’s fleece for several years, but had to hold off on processing when 2020 happened. You see, without shows to sell my goods at, I needed to wait until I could be sure I could pay for the processing and still be able to get all of Scott’s Clip (meaning all of his fleece for the year) because I made a commitment. This is another part of the farm-to-needle process for me: commitment. Once I start making a FTN yarn, my intention is to continue it. I don’t often do one-off runs because I believe in the whole cycle continuing with as much consistency as I can give it. That includes yarn support for new patterns that the designer can count on being available as an option to replicate their sample, not just as an example. 

With the sorting of the colors (OH THE SORTING!!) and scouring and spinning and plying done, we now have 3 undyed sport-weight bases in our Shetlandia Lineup - the simply named “Shetlandia” that is white/ecru, the “Shetlandia Buff” that is the first of our 3-ply farm-to-needle yarns, and the “Shetlandia Dark” that contains all of the various grays from the clips at Tall Cotton Farm. With these lovely hues to begin with, you can just imagine how my dyer’s brain has been exploding with ideas (THREE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT COLORS WITH THE SAME DYE FORMULA), and the beauty that has come dripping out of the dyepots. These are all 3 very special to me. They’re rustic and soft and springy, and the perfect yarn for sweater knitting (Steeking anyone??). 

Check out the Glacial Drift Pattern by The Bean Knits if you’re curious how it knits up.

You can see Jill's Shetlandia response HERE

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