Sheep to Shawl: Hebridean Style

I wanted to share with you a little about the Hebridean Sheep wool I found on Colonsay. You have already met the sheep but I was lucky enough to be there for part of the shearing. The weather seems to change here minute-by-minute so shearing is a “maybe yes” or “maybe not” on any given day.

Yasmin and Trevor have a very nice gathering, chute, and shearing set up. Here, the sheep,are gathered waiting their turn.

20130806-130032.jpg
Here Yasmin keeps the sheep from escaping by adjusting the tie-up.

20130806-130411.jpg
The sheep move through the chute, which has a couple gates to segment the line of sheep.

20130806-130525.jpg
The sheep remained relatively calm throughout the process. I think I want one of these set ups for our farm!

20130806-130642.jpg
Here, Trevor shears the sheep who has been moved to the end of the chute and into the shearing area.

20130806-130815.jpg
Lola, the wether who lives with the ewes, must feel lighter with all that wool off!

20130806-130932.jpg
Yasmin and Trevor were very generous and I have 2 fleeces headed back to the U.S. Yasmin and I carefully skirted them and put in every imaginable piece of paperwork and documentation to assure that they make it through customs. Keep your fingers crossed!

20130806-131136.jpg
So what does Yasmin do with this wool? She has it sent to a couple mills for processing into yarn. Then, she creates! Yasmin is a specialist in designing and making garments from the wool.
Here is a waistcoat (“vest” in the U.S.) with a beautiful Harris tweed front with red deer antler buttons…

20130806-131421.jpg
…and a back knitted from Lola’s beautiful wool (which was actually processed and spun at the site of my next visit – stay tuned!)

20130806-131612.jpg

20130806-131630.jpg
A very special item Yasmin makes are ganseys. These are the traditional sweaters worn by fishermen and contain traditional motifs in the pattern. Yasmin’s knitting, sewing and finishing is impeccable. I was extremely impressed, as are others as she has produced many and is working on more at the moment. Here is one just begun.

20130806-132223.jpg
And here is the finished product, with detail.

20130806-132312.jpg

20130806-132345.jpg
She is constantly thinking of new ways to use her sheep’s wool as well as the Scottish Blackface Sheep wool.
Wrist warmers….

20130806-132509.jpg
Bags – this one in Harris tweed with a knitted traditional motif.

20130806-132657.jpg

20130806-132715.jpg
Yasmin also provides the wool (yarn) for others to create their own projects. I had dreamed of making something from the Hebridean Sheep wool. We discussed options prior to my arrival but really didn’t make a decision until we sat down together. I had brought along my Jacob v-shawl for my warm piece on this trip and after Yasmin saw it, she suggested we design a shawl of the same shape. It was a complicated process which I won’t go into here, but Yasmin pulled it off and created a pattern I am able to follow. It incorporates 3 gansey motifs and some surprises. When it is finished, I will write a follow-up post! Here’s the beginning.

20130806-133320.jpg
To contact Yasmin regarding visiting her on Colonsay (this multi-talented woman is also an excellent cook and I will need to do a lot more walking at the next stop to wear off what I ate at her B&B), email her at hebrideanisles@aol.co.uk or check out her website (and blog!) at http://www.island-at-the-edge.co.uk.
I had a hard time leaving this hospitable couple and their animals – sheep and dogs. I gathered some wool…

20130806-133922.jpg</a
…and spent some beautiful days…

20130806-134113.jpg
…before saying good-bye to the first stop on this wooly adventure. Thank you, Yasmin and Trevor and all the special sheep – Wee Girly, Lola, Ewan, Big Fella and the rest and dogs – Sammy and Stamford – who made this stop so memorable.

20130806-134624.jpg

Advertisements
Published in: on August 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://woolyadventures.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/sheep-to-shawl-hebridean-style/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: