It has been a strange lambing period this time: changeable weather (some of it very good indeed) but the lambs were slow to start and on the whole it was a very stop and start effort. Which is frustrating. This autumn we will probably sponge the ewes again, which will be an entire blog post in its own right. I must remember to take photos.
We have ended up with 33 lambs, (10 male and 13 female - so fewer half-hoggets for everyone to eat next autumn) and two non-lambing ewes. Everyone gets another chance on our holding.
Our first lamb was a huge single tup which we have named Arthur - now morphed into King Arthur on account of his relative size and presence. The name originally chosen to remind Paolo for ever of the bet he didn't place (and we are habitual Lucinda Russell-backers) on One for Arthur, the Grand National Winner born that same afternoon. He is still growing well, has been left entire and likes having his photo taken, especially when he can show that he is nearly as big as his mum already:
We now have a couple of patterned ewes and we put these to a fawn tup, who between them have produced some very pretty patterned lambs, included one who looks as if she has had her feet and tail dipped in hot chocolate. More photos to come.
We have decided to Heptavac the sheep from now on, which means injecting all the adults twice, and now the lambs twice too. They don't seem to mind it so much!
I was lucky to receive a copy of the Maker's Yearbook earlier this year and it has certainly concentrated my mind about how to promote the wool more effectively. I was lucky enough to get a last-minute stall at the St Abbs Wool Fest (now in Eyemouth) although this meant snaking a day off out of the lambing field and leaving the under-Shepherd in charge). I did a lot of research into how to make the stall work, what other vendors wanted to pass on in the way of advice, and set a promotions budget so that I could make the stall look as professional as possible in a short period of time. First step to get this bright and cheerful pop-up banner stand made, then a trip to IKEA (the gates of the underworld) for table-cloth, fairly lights and baskets in which to display my wool. Also what seemed like an eternity of printing and sticking on labels to each ball of wool, ordering cards and postcards. Finally remembering to organise a cash float and get myself a card-reader! Finally though, I arrived at the venue; everyone was really kind and helpful and I managed to get the stall set up to look like this!
What a proud moment that was!
Great things about the wool fair were:
- the other friendly stall holders
- the great range of classes available (which I really wanted to attend) especially the felted fishy class!
- the huge number of really interested and enthusiastic customers who arrived as the door opened and didn't stop coming until the end
- the great refreshment service which kept me supplied at the stall with copious amounts of tea all day
and of course the Giacopazzi's icecream at the harbour before I headed home. Enormous credit to Jenny Howe who organises this event. It's superb!
Next St Abbs Wool Fest is 4th November 2017. Excited already!
Haven't written for a while so am writing and dating these to reflect what's been going on over the Spring! The sheep are getting very close to lambing now - predicted start date was 28th March - and we need to feed them more over the last six weeks as this is when most foetal development takes place. Weather has been mixed including snow and hot sunshine! Spent a beautiful week in the Northern Dales and finally started on my Moorland Ripple Blanket by Attic24 . I love her work! Progress has been slow but the colours are great and the blanket currently looks more like this:
Came back and went along the next day to Edinburgh YarnFest at the Corn Exchange.
This event describes itself as the UK's premier urban knitting event and it is huuuuge! I owe the organisers of this event so much for all the love and support they've shown me over the last year or so: believing in the idea of LammermuirWool before I did! I tried very hard to restrain myself from buying anything (too much) but it is always good to catch up with friends who run stalls at this event, particularly Amanda Perkins Crochet Blankets, John Arbon (both because - as we all know - Lynton rocks), Ange at WeftBlown, the ladies from Whistlebare who modeled my Orkney Scarf, woven in their lovely wool, Jenny at SkyBluePink, and Ronnie Eunson from Uradale Yarns. It's exhausting though - all that looking at wool and feeling inspired, by just how creative people are - so didn't stay all day and went home very proud of my stash (pictured below). As you can see, there are quite a few books there; and they don't count. Do they?: