Have you heard of the Livestock Conservancy Shave 'Em to Save 'Em initiative?
It is a fun program they started for fiber artist to encourage them to try new wool that are listed on the Conservation Priority List. You get a "passport" and when you purchase wool (at least 4 oz. of raw wool, washed wool, roving, top, batts, or yarn) from a Fiber Provider that is signed up with the program, you get a stamp to add to your passport.
It is also a great program for those raising heritage breeds, you sign up as a fiber provider and get listed on their website. The feedback from providers has been positive, as they are selling their wool, some for the first time.
I am signed up as a provider and artist!
I have purchased wool from several farms:Lincoln, Jacob, Shetland, Leicester Longwool, and CVM. Still quite a few to go...
A great opportunity to experience spinning so many different breeds.
Are you participating? I would love to hear your experiences, whether you are selling or buying.
If you are interested in learning more check out the Livestock Conservancy Website.
I hope you check it out, the more the merrier!
Delaney has been studying a 4-H, Sheep Resource Book for Market and Breeding Projects.
I noticed that they had a section on wool. I love reading about wool, so I browsed through the information they offered. It list all of the many reasons why we should love wool
- holds shape and will regain shape even after stretching
- resist wrinkling and sagging
- is absorbent
- great insulator.
-strong natural fiber.
A great list! I could even add a few more..
Then they list the reject conditions for wool which include:
-seedy and chaffy wool
-wool with manure tags
- tender wool
It is true that natural colored (any color but white) wool is not desirable in the wool markets (co-op and wool pools) because it cannot be dyed. But here at Mitten State Sheep & Wool, we love our natural colored sheep and their curly locks. We do not sell our wool through the standard markets, we sell our wool to Fiber Enthusiast, who like us, love natural colored wool and all it has to offer.
I do want to add that you can dye natural colored wool as well, just not what the commerical industry is looking for.
Just one of the many differences between the commerical wool industry and the cottage wool industry.
(We love our white and red sheep too)
I try to share with others, our experiences with raising sheep. People seem so disconnected from farm life. I was just watching a video clip of people sharing the idea that shearing is a bad thing, and cruel to sheep. We shouldn't wear wool....just man-made stuff!
I would love to ask them what they think happens to a sheep that isn't sheared every year? Have they ever been on a farm and watched a sheep be sheared? Have they ever even seen a sheep?
Sheep are domesticated animals (and have been for quite some time) and need the care of a shepherd/shepherdess. A responsible shepherd takes care of their sheep, and for wool breeds that means shearing them when needed, typically once a year.
I have seen sheep that have been neglected, no thanks! On our farm, we will continue to be responsible, and shear our sheep once a year. They handle the two minute experience, with the shearer just fine. We tend to get more injuries on shearing day, than the sheep!
Wool is an amazing, renewable fiber, and I am glad to be able to raise sheep, work with their wool, and share it with others.
Wear wool, the sheep don't mind, they grow more. :)