Thank you to everyone who has been patiently waiting for the Breed Study to begin. I admit I got blocked. I started to write my first post on Zwartbles and realized every time I began, I found more things to write about! So I’m starting here: before the actual spinning, in hopes to better organize my thoughts and make the whole process more inclusive for everyone.
Why do a breed study?
1. Fiber: It’s all about the fiber! Just like trying new foods, how will I know if it’s the most delicious thing if I never try it?
2. History: It’s great fun learning how sheep breeds are developed and have changed over time. I never would have known that the Targhee breed named after the Targhee National Forest where the animals grazed during the summer.
3. Geography: In researching different breeds I have to look up where they are from, which leads to more fun information. Such as, Falkland sheep are considered organic by default because the Falkland Islands are virtually agri-chemical free and sheep are not dipped. This is partially due to their farming practices and partially to their remote location.
4. Language: I often look up pronunciation of the breed names. Did you know Cheviot is pronounced shee-vee-ott, (not chevy, like the car)?
5. Conservation: Many sheep breeds are in decline. By studying them and subsequently using their wool in projects, I am helping to sustain the breeds and the shepherds who raise them.
6. Versatility and control: One of reasons I spin is to make exactly the yarn I want which in many cases isn’t available commercially. By learning the qualities of more breeds, I increase my pool of possibilities.
7. Community and fellowship: I love to teach and learn. I love my spinning groups and guilds. The more I learn about breeds, the more I have to share. The more I teach and share, the more I learn!
What are your reasons for doing a breed study? Let me know in the comments below!
(next Breed Study post: the tools)