Nothing speaks of spring like this:
Meet Penny Rose, the first lamb of the year. Isn’t she the perkiest thing you ever saw?
This is busy time for ewes, what with bearing and feeding and keeping track of youngsters. It’s suddenly a big responsibility for an animal accustomed to spending her time eating, lounging, and growing wool.
Here is Ida with her new twins, who immediately demand feeding. Childbirth converts a lazy sheep into an attentive, conscientious mother who knows, from the first moment, what her new job is. Her voice changes. Her manner changes. She has this important thing to do now, and that’s all she is about.
Someone noted to me that this ewe mother has a lot of fleece on. Yes. While some shepherds shear just before lambing, I have always felt it puts unneeded stress onto a heavily pregnant ewe to set her on her butt and shear her. I do go in and give them a little haircut around the relevant areas, called “crutching,” to make sure the path is clear and the teats are available. I will shear later, when everyone has gotten over the excitement of lambing and new duties.
the daffodils are emerging from their winter’s sleep. Other than the sound of a lamb bleating, what can so strongly fill you with Spring as the scent of a Narcissus on the breeze? This is the Double Campernelle daffodil, a quite old variety, known in gardens from 1601.
And the Hellebores still nod, heavy and sensual,
And what else?
We have had the Spring Fiber Sale, the first of the year’s gatherings of spinners, knitters, weavers and shepherds, the market days where we greet and exchange goods and envy. It’s been a long winter and we show off our work to one another.
See what can become of that woolly sheep when her fleece is cleaned and spun into fine yarn, worked by skilled hands into a pattern of lace?
This lovely shawl, seen at the Spring Fiber Sale, is done in the classic Shetland pattern known as “Old Shale” or, if you were a speaker of Shetland English some time ago, more probably “Old Shell” in meaning.
Here’s some winter’s work of my own,
done from handspun wool and knitted into a simple, thickly warm wrap.
And, speaking of spring, Sock Madness is underway! Sock Madness is the annual, March, sock knitting eliminations game, run online, on Ravelry – a knit and crochet community.
Here, for your enjoyment, are my completed Round 1 socks:
And my Round 2 socks:
I’m still in it. I await the Round 3 challenge…