I’m not sure if I found sheep or if they found me.
After losing my mum a few years ago, I felt quite alone and really wasn’t sure where the next stage of my life would take me. I bought a little place in Shropshire with a patch of land and thought a few pet sheep would help to keep the grass down.
I did my homework and decided on a friendly, native, rare breed ideal for smallholders, Coloured Ryelands, one of the oldest British breeds. Intelligent, affectionate, adorable woolly characters, it wasn’t long before I had fallen head over hooves in love with them.
It was a steep learning curve, but they helped me through a very difficult stage in my life and I adore them.
Believing my little flock to be absolutely gorgeous, I took them to a local sheep show and was thrilled to be placed. The very next show, we won Supreme Champion, and then we went on to win the Coloured Ryeland National Female Champion! Wow!
We have a few championships under our belts now, including trophies for their wool.
This next stage has combined my two passions, my love for animals and my love of crafting.
It is important we shear the sheep every year for their health and hygiene, and I know they feel so much better in the summer after their heavy winter wool has been removed. After shearing, I had been keeping the fleece from each sheep in a bag with their name on and thought it would be lovely to make something different from each one - Ryelands have beautiful wool and apparently Queen Elizabeth I insisted on only wearing Ryeland wool stockings!
I have always had an interest in crafting and once I got started working with the wonderful wool from my gorgeous girls I couldn’t stop. It is so rewarding; the natural shades make beautiful rugs and the wool is ideal for needle felting.
Now I would love to share my experience with you; either using my own wool to produce handmade bespoke items for your enjoyment, or preparing your own flock’s wool so you can get busy on your own masterpieces!