mother creative, Spinning, Sheep Breeds, travel

Wool Discoveries; rare wool breeds with Deb Robson


This class made my head explode.

I woke up too early in my Vermont hotel room. Too excited to sleep for what the day may bring. Just the thought of driving through winding country roads early in the morning in Vermont to a place I’d never been was enough to thrill me. And keep me from sleeping.

Weeks before, a friend encouraged me to sign up for a rare wool breeds class. I was intrigued so I looked it up and knew it would be a great adventure to go somewhere new. I’ve also been excited about rare wool breeds ever since I started my journey in the fiber world over 20 years ago. I laid there wondering what on earth my instructor would be sharing with us.

I cracked open my Life of Beatrix Potter biography. Here started the chapter when Beatrix became interested in Herdwick sheep. Having never heard of this breed, I looked it up. A link led me to Manx sheep who come from the Isle of Mann. And then more links about branches of Gaelic. What a wonderful thing to get lost in interesting information in silence knowing no tiny humans with tiny but very loud feet will interrupt or ask to watch a video or eventually kick me in the face as they flop around the bed in fresh morning glee. I read some more of my book.

Hours later I’m sitting in a large circle of other spinners ready to learn. The women next to me pulls out a large cone of sport weight two ply off white almost light grey yarn. “I brought my Herdwick yarn” she says. I gape at her in disbelief. A few minutes later our instructor passes around a list of the wools we’ll be working with. Manx is on the list. I nearly cry.

Deb Robson is a fantastic knowledgeable instructor with such interesting stories. I’m so grateful I could escape for a few days and play this way. Before I reached home, I ordered a large quantity of 1 oz sample rovings of 30 different sheep, many being rare or watched. I felt it time to start exploring more breeds and this is a great way to start. And because they are each an ounce, I’ll spin them on my Turkish spindle so as not to tie up my wheel for my fleeces. Once finished I’m thinking of knitting each one into a different stitch pattern; cables, lace, Bavarian twists, stitch patterns like linen and seed stitch. Or work a different flower pattern into each? I’d need to figure that one out. I do always thrive on a knew challenge.


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