It’s hard to believe that Fibre-East 2018 is only 3 weeks away! Here’s another look around the Marketplace to introduce you to some more of our wonderful exhibitors. I hope you’re saving hard for what promises to be a bumper year of wonderful woolliness!
Woolmouse is a family consortium, producing hand dyed yarn under the label ‘Lovehandyed’, wooden shawl pins, stylish but sturdy craft aprons, project bags and purses, gift items as well as textile-themed cards. They are really excited to be working in collaboration with the designer Ruth Dorrington on a range of knitting patterns designed especially for Lovehandyed yarns which will be launched at Fibre-East. Very exciting to be part of the launch of a new range of patterns, so make sure you go along to take a look!
Home Farm Wenselydales is a 500 head flock of rare breed sheep kept for their fleece and wool. They sell this online, complimented with an exclusive range of patterns or through various specialist shows that occur throughout the year. Jayne has shared with us how their lambs are weaned. It’s absolutely fascinating. Read on to find out how her year has gone:
‘This year at Home Farm Wensleydales, despite the dreadful weather conditions that faced us from November until Easter, we had a tremendous lambing season. We are delighted to have increased our slaughter free flock with the addition of a further 130 beautiful lambs and two new fields.
Lambing started at the beginning of March and ended mid April (with the arrival of a surprise lamb – a result of an over-energetic ram who can clearly jump the high fences!!) and this is followed 4 months later with weaning.
I personally find the job of weaning our lambs very emotional. This crucial time must be managed carefully to avoid stress to both the ewe and her lambs, although the lambs seem to find it more stressful than the ewes! Minimising the stress and easing the process are very important factors on our farm both for the welfare of the animal and the quality of our wool.
Without our intervention, weaning would occur naturally at approximately 6 months of age. We aim to wean at 4 months when the ewes milk has naturally decreased and there is less risk of her developing mastitis.
We take the ewes to a different area of the farm for a few days to allow her milk to dry up completely. This only takes 3 or 4 days and the lambs are left in their familiar surroundings with all of the other lambs who have been with them since birth.
Once the ewes’ milk has dried up we return them to their groups and they are not separated again until winter when the lambs are fed a special diet to help them strong through these long colder months.
Keeping Longwool Wensleydale Sheep at Home Farm Wensleydales is an entirely different process to keeping sheep for meat. There are many factors that will affect the quality of the wool that we produce and stress during weaning is one of the highest. We cannot have any weakness in the staple or wool break in our premium fibre.
When we have successfully weaned our ewes and lambs we can look forward to a healthy flock growing luxury fibre for our wool and fleece customers.’
Thank you so much Jayne for sharing this with us. If you’d like to see the beautiful fibre for yourself, make sure you visit Jayne at the show.
Our last vendor for today is Knit One, a shop in Leicester City Centre selling popular brands of yarn. One of their unique and popular items are their Crochet and Knitting Kits.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look around the Marketplace. There will be another blog post soon with a last look at some of this year’s exhibitors. If you’ve already starting writing a wish list, why not buy your tickets in advance so you can make sure that you’re one of the first to get to your favourite exhibitor’s stand? You can get your tickets here so don’t delay!