Sunday, February 27, 2011

Watch Lambs Being Born

Our weekly American Sheep Industry newsletter reported that Oaklands College in the United Kingdom has switched on its popular "lamb cam."

Viewers will be able to share the joy of lambs being born at the Smallford campus. The live lamb camera is set up in the barn where the pregnant sheep are settled under the watchful eye of Oaklands College staff, who have to be on hand at all times of the day and night. You can access the lamb cam by visiting

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wet Felted Mitten Class

Barbara Bare and Sue Hale, both from the South Haven area, came for a class to make wet felted mittens. Both are artists in other mediums and had felting experience so the class went quickly and smoothly.

Unfortunately, the class went so quickly I forgot to take pictures of the ladies with their finished mitts before they left. Thankfully, Sue sent me a photo of her mittens to show the embellishments she added at home. The hand stitching around the cuff and top edge of each mitten really emphasize the dyed top she used in the final layer of her mittens. The button arrangement using two colored buttons is another clever addition.

In a recent email, Sue said she was enjoying her mittens on these cold, cold days!!! I am sure that is true. Thanks to both Barb and Sue for a fun afternoon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Great Time to be a Sheepbreeder

In September 2010, the first time in history, a tv show highlighted the strengths of the US sheep industry. It was aired on RFD-TV more than once since I didn't get to view it until January 2011. Members of the American Sheep Industry Association answered questions from people who called the show, in between great videos of different sheep breeders and their operations.

The February 2011 issue of the Sheep Industry News highlighted the Top 10 Sheep Stories of 2010, one that reported the year 2010 had the all-time high for lamb prices and the highest wool prices since 1989. Another story had reported that more than 30% of all lamb is marketed direct from the farm to the consumer or retail and food service buyers like restaurants. That cuts out the middleman and makes it more profitable for the farmer. Indicators point to a strong 2011 as well, Wal-Mart announced that all 40 distribution centers are now committed to carrying domestic lamb through 2012.

Those of us with interest in yarn and/or fiber have experienced an increase in the knitting, crochet and fiber artists industry, not just in the past year. It began dramatically 10 years ago and has been a quiet, steady growth the past few years.

I wanted to pass this information on in case someone was seriously thinking of becoming a sheep breeder. Many voice the desire to have a "few" pet sheep but now is a good time if your family wants to dive in to a new ( and worthwhile) lifestyle. Forgive me for being so prejudiced toward the life we found, we have been blessed .

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine's Day Shawl

This was a fun, yet challenging, project made specifically for the Starry Night Gallery's Valentine Reception Feb. 4 in Allegan.

Part of the challenge was the size, the finished dimensions are 7 foot 2 inches long by 21 inches wide, which dictated layout and beginning felting was done on the floor. The lace fabric is synthetic, when I dyed it part of the lace design on one side stayed white while the other side is a deeper all over color. I wanted both sides to have the felt design but the depth of color made it more difficult to mirror the layout.

You can see the darker shade at the neckline of the front photo and even more with the backside photo.

The felt design of hearts is ruby merino with an almost pink merino silk blend interlacing them. The dye color for the fabric is vermillion. The two sided felting gives a dramatic reversible effect.