The Breeding of Sheep 01-04-23 02

I Support The Breeding of Sheep

It’s always a bit dangerous to combine the jargon of two worlds. The breeding of sheep in the queer world might be misunderstood.

What I Mean By The Breeding of Sheep

The Livestock Conservancy states that many of America’s once-common farm animals face extinction and they represent an irreplaceable piece of earth’s biodiversity. They offer incredible variety that may be needed for future farms’ robust health, and the ability to thrive in a changing climate.

The list of sheep breeds in their conservation priority list is:

North American Breeds
Florida Cracker (Critical)
Gulf Coast or Gulf Coast Native (Critical)
Hog Island (Critical)
Navajo-Churro (Critical)
Santa Cruz (Critical)
Jacob – American (Threatened)
Karakul – American (Threatened)
Romeldale/CVM (Threatened)
Barbados Blackbelly (Watch)
St. Croix (Watch)
Tunis (Watch)
Breeds Imported Before 1900
Cotswold (Threatened)
Dorset Horn (Threatened)
Lincoln (Threatened)
Oxford (Watch)
Shropshire (Watch)
Southdown (Recovering)
Breeds Imported After 1900
Teeswater (Critical)
Black Welsh Mountain (Threatened)
Clun Forest (Threatened)
Leicester Longwool (Threatened)
Soay – British (Threatened)
Wiltshire Horn (Watch)
Shetland (Recovering)

So, making sure that the biodiversity of sheep is helped is what I mean by breeding sheep. There are three ways I’m hoping to help out with this:

  1. Supporting the Livestock Conservancy organization by becoming a member of the Shave ’em to Save ’em initiative. When I buy wool from participating rare breed fiber providers, they provide a “stamp” to put in my “passport.”
  2. Support local businesses that support the Livestock Conservancy group. The Men’s Knitting Retreats and I, personally have always supported Battenkill Fibers, a wool mill in Greenwich, NY. I also have a fantastic fiber shop nearby, The Spinnery in Frenchtown, NJ. Betty, the owner has supported local sheep farmers and fiber artists for decades in this area. Betty sold me my first Louet spinning wheel many years ago.
  3. Finally, I recently got to meet some local sheep farmers who raise American Jacob sheep in the nearby town of Kingwood Township, NY. Echo Valley Farm is where I purchased my most recent Jacob fleece.

Local Farm Support

Speaking of which, please meet Minette!

Jacob Fleece Minette Echo Valley Farm 12-16-22

Okay…this is the product of Minette’s latest shearing. Two and a half pounds of raw, Jacob wool that will be keeping me busy for a little while.

Current Spinning/Knitting

There are only two projects I’m actively working on right now. The first is Minette’s fleece.

I’m currently alternating between carding fleece (on my drum carder) and spinning the roving. There are probably many reasons why it’s ill-advised, but I’ve decided not to scour (clean) the fleece first. So I’m both carding and spinning Minette’s wool in-the-grease. I’ve decided to scour the yarn when it’s finished.

I’m also continuing work on a baby blanket.

OpArt Blanket 01-04-23 01

It’s now up to about 250 stitches around, so it’s getting a bit difficult to get a decent photo of it. But I’m enjoying this knitting project and liking how it’s turning out.

5 comments on “I Support The Breeding of Sheep

  1. Will spinning your wool in the grease harm your carders or wheel? And do you know how it will affect your finished yarn? I’m curious about both, I don’t know much about spinning but love to see it.

    1. I’ve carded and spun wool that wasn’t scoured before and it can make the drum carder and/or the spinning wheel a little dirty. But neither of them seem any dirtier after initial attempts at carding and spinning. So I’ll continue on this way.The effect on the finished yarn is that I won’t have a very good sense about what weight of yarn I’m spinning until I do the final washing. Right now, it looks like I’m spinning two-ply lace-weight, but it will probably end up being two-ply fingering when all is said and done.

  2. Hey Joe! Thanks for joining Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em and supporting rare breeds and the shepherds who raise them. I’m the program manager. Let’s keep in touch as I would love to track your progress through your passport. Feel free to reach out with any questions or ideas.

    Happy New Year!

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