Shepherds & Shearers in progress!
In WOVEMBER 2012 we were thrilled to hear about the “Shepherd & Shearer” project when it was announced by Susan Gibbs and Emily Chamelin. A year on, we delighted in sharing Emily’s story of how the wool for this amazing project was harvested. Today we continue to explore the wonderful story of this project by hearing from some of the knitters knitting up the designs by Kate Davies and Kirsten Kapur created especially for this special crop of wool. All of the reports have been sent in by wonderful ‘Aunties’ from the Juniper Moon Farm group on Ravelry, and the words and images are © of each of the individual contributors and used with kind permission!
Valerie’s Shepherd Hoody
As soon as I read Susan’s post about the Shepherd and the Shearer project, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Her words resonated with me on such a powerful level. I have long had a love of woolly sweaters, and started knitting about ten years ago because, after having purchased a (very expensive) hand-knitted aran sweater from Ireland, I decided I wanted to make one like it myself. Why not, I asked? Ten years later, I have developed the skills to make that sweater, and have made many lovely, soft, (and now pilly) sweaters, but have not been able to find suitable yarn for that heirloom quality, hard-wearing sweater in any stores in my area. Upon entering said stores, and asking for a sturdy and strong yarn, I’m met with blank stares. Hence, when I found out about TSATS, I knew I had to try this yarn. One year later, I am so happy I did. I am part way through making Kate Davies’ Shepherd Hoodie, and loving every minute of it.
The yarn is wonderful to work with: a beautiful, warm, creamy colour; a lovely, sturdy, lanolin-infused texture which makes my feel hands soft and pampered; and a comforting, slightly sheepy scent, reminding me of its origin. It has a beautiful halo, yet excellent stitch-definition to make all those sinuous cables stand out. I honestly find it tragic to think that the fibre from which this yarn was spun is generally headed for the trash, as Emily said in her recent Wovember post. I sincerely hope that the interest and excitement which this project has engendered will alert everyone who works with sheep to the demand for this sort of fibre, and the beautiful, warm, and functional garments which it can become.
Best Wovember wishes,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Gail’s Shearer Sweater
I’m knitting The Shearer, although not from The Shepherd and The Shearer yarn. I’m making mine from that *other* great American yarn – Bartlettsyarn. Fisherman, to be more specific.
I love me a good, honest, hard-wearing yarn. Others can squee over merino or cashmere or whatever is the flavor of the moment. I love the heritage sheep, the hardy ones that have survived the years without AI or breedlines.
Anywho, attached pic is where I have gotten in my sweater. I’ve finished the front and back and am ready to start the sleeves. I’ve modified the pattern to knit the body in the round, and will be doing set-in sleeves.
Gail (Luckydog on Ravelry)
Sarah’s Shepherd Hoody
I feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to work with this yarn! My interest in learning more about different breeds of sheep and the wool they produce has stemmed completely from my experiences as a Juniper Moon shareholder over the last five years. When I read about this project, I was so excited!
I think harder wearing wools often get short shrift among knitters (and even more so among less discerning wearers of wool who aren’t craftspeople). In my non-knitting life, I’m a historian, so it totally makes sense to me to create garments that will have a long life. As a knitter, I’m really enjoying working with this wool because it is so different from most of the wool I have access to: clearly connected to real sheep, farmers, shearers, and spinners. I would love to see more wool yarns like this one available to knitters! Supporting small farms and producers is also really important to me, and something which drew me to this project. I’m lucky to live in a place that has a pretty excellent wool and fiber producing culture nearby – Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Aside from how smitten I am with the yarn (which feels amazing, smells amazing, and is knitting up gorgeously), I’m head over heels for the pattern, too. I’m knitting the hoodie pattern, The Shepherd, and it’s totally perfect for me as a garment AND as a knitting experience. I love cardigans, and I really love cables, and these cables are so special and soothing! I’ll be sad when the knitting part is over, but excited to finally be able to wear it.
My name is Sarah, I live in Victoria, BC (Canada), and I’m blogging about my Shepherd sweater over at Barf Green Is Best.
All the best, and thanks for making Wovember great!
I have cast on my own Shepherd Hoody, but have been a tad busy blogging for a little website about wool (you might have heard of it?) and thus don’t have any good photos of it yet! It is an amazing project and one which I am proud to be a part of; maybe I’ll share my own story of knitting fellow WOVEMBERIST Kate’s pattern with this special yarn next year in WOVEMBER? Thanks to Gail, Valerie and Sarah for sharing your progress so far, and READERS! Stay tuned for further adventures in WOOL for this evening, when we shall reveal some of the WAL projects that folk have been undertaking this WOVEMBER!