My schedule for 2017 is shaping up with felting workshops I am taking and classes I'll be teaching.
I am teaching a new class at Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival on May, 14th and at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival on September 10th. It's a Cobweb Felt Floor Lamp class.
I love these floor lamps! They warm up the atmosphere of any room and they emphasize the beautiful lock structure of long wool fibers. I use my Wensleydale/Bluefaced Leicester ewe's roving for these lamp coverings. We will be making them in white, but they can be dyed or eco-printed or embellished for more texture and color.
I also teach the Raw Felted Fleece class here in Ogilvie, MN in my outdoor studio. I've got people coming in from various states this spring and summer. If you're interested in this class, drop me an email. I can do individual sessions or groups of 2-6. Four is a good number to have adequate space and time for everyone. There are lakeside cabins available to rent just down the road from our house. They are very affordable if you schedule a session during the week. If you fly into Minneapolis or Duluth, there is a shuttle bus from the airport to Hinckley, MN where I can pick you up. Sid loves to cook, so we have snacks and a nice lunch for students as well as plenty of after class homemade wine or mead to share.
I decided not to breed my ewes last fall because I am taking a trip to Shetland, UK in May this spring. I am studying felting with Fiona Duthie in a 9-day retreat. I am super excited! Ever since I started raising Shetland sheep in 2001, I've wanted to visit Shetland.
Sid will be taking care of the sheep while I'm away. This is the first time in 15 years I haven't had lambing looming over my head in the spring. I feel like I'm playing hooky from school. It's so liberating not to worry about procuring good hay, vaccinating and shearing prior to lambing, keeping watch as the ewes lamb, docking tails and vaccinating the lambs, weaning lambs, and marketing sheep. Whew, there are a lot of things that come with lambing! Also, it's nice to just have one pen of sheep to care for rather than a ram pen, a ewe pen, lambing jugs, etc. So happy I can just relax and enjoy my flock and their wonderful wool!
We had a bit of a scare when I put the wethered ram lambs back in with the ewes. The shearer had used the burdizzo on Wilbur in mid-September, so I waited until January to make sure he was no longer fertile before letting him in with the ewes.
My thoughts were that the crimping hadn't fully crushed the cord and I could have 17 ewes to lamb out in June. Yikes!!! Fortunately, my vet can do ultrasounds on the ewes. So I scheduled a farm visit for 45-60 days after exposure (which was just a few days ago). Thankfully, the sampling of ewes that were ultrasounded appear to be open (not bred). The vet also did an ultrasound of Wilbur's testicle and it appears there is enough scarring to prevent him from being fertile. Yeah!!!
We can't be 100% sure until June, but if anyone needs a good teaser ram, I will probably have one available. He's a Teeswater, Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester with excellent long lustrous locks and a nice personality. And his name is Wilbur.