Whenever Rob and I go on vacation, we end up in places most hospitable to sheep. It appears we - and the sheep - enjoy similar weather and landscapes. Scotland, England, Iceland, Faroe Islands - all places well-populated by sheep, and all places we happen to love visiting.
I'll admit, Rob was far more enthusiastic about some of the destinations at first; particularly the idea of visiting northern Scotland in February. He's positively joyful on a windy, drizzly, 50-degree day. It's taken me some time to figure out how to appreciate it. The right socks, shoes, and layers help enormously, as does a well-earned cozy meal at the end of a day.
The other things that make these destinations work for me are the incredible landscapes and the endless sheep sightings. I love seeing them so much, especially when they’re left to their own devices to roam without fences. In England, flocks of sheep are generally contained within a large and beautiful patchwork of stone or willow fencing. They're beautiful to see, a purebred flock of English sheep, dotting the countryside. (I particularly love the gentle-faced Herdwick breed in the Lake District, known for being one of Beatrix Potter's breeds of sheep, and the stunning Swaledale breed, which we met in the Yorkshire Dales.)
Further north, things get a little more wild and woolly. Flocks are managed differently and appearances change, too. Sheep trek right across the roads, wander more freely, and often seem willing to greet you if you stop to say hello. To me, this is magical.
The free-roaming sheep and wild and woolly landscapes captured my interest and have informed so much of my work, and my interest in working with wool altogether.
I'm not naive enough to think I'd make a great sheep farmer. (I tried it once, for a day, in northern England! It was fantastic, but I'm not convinced I have the fortitude to do it every single day.) But I still can't resist sheep - their (mostly) gentle nature, kind eyes, and wonderful, useful wool. Working with wool gives me an opportunity to reminisce and daydream.
Some of my favorite sheep to follow, watch, and read about:
Read: The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks
Instagram: Catskill Merino, a woman-owned small farm in the Hudson Valley
Instagram: By Olafsdottir, a farmer & stay-at-home mom/small business owner in the Faroes
Instagram: Lakeland Lambies, three Herdwick lambs in the Lake District
Visit: Stay Lambing Live in the Yorkshire Dales
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yarns and snippets is a little corner where I'll share some writing, recording my story in a way that's more comfortable for me - long form over social media. so, a bit of a journal and a record of my work, workshops, markets and weaving and knotting journey.
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