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.

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

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

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

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

Lola, the wether who lives with the ewes, must feel lighter with all that wool off!

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!

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…

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


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.

And here is the finished product, with detail.


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

Bags – this one in Harris tweed with a knitted traditional motif.


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.

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 or check out her website (and blog!) at
I had a hard time leaving this hospitable couple and their animals – sheep and dogs. I gathered some wool…

…and spent some beautiful days…

…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.


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

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