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Made from scrap
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Sunday, 6 May 2012

From Sheep to Chic - Textile Artist Linda Moss

I just remembered I forgot!  I forgot to tell you about last Month's Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Guilds 'Talk'.   It was called 'From Sheep to Chic' and the speaker was Linda Moss.  Linda is a textile artist who works mostly with fleece from her own sheep.  She keeps 'Soay' Sheep that are a 'Rare' breed, registered with 'The Rare Breeds Survival Trust'.
Soay sheep are unlike any other breed of sheep.  They are one of the earliest most primitive breeds of sheep.  They originate from St Kilda in Scotland, the remotest part of the British Isles.  It also has the harshest climate in the British Isles.  How Soay Sheep came to be in St Kilda, no body knows.  They are adapted for the really harsh climate and are excellent conservation grazers, they are content in woodland or hills.  They lamb much later in the year than other breeds, biological programming ensuring optimum survival of their young.  Linda lives high up in the Shropshire Hills, where again the weather can be exposed and much colder than lower ground.  These little sheep are extremely hardy.  They usually have only one lamb and they make very good mothers, they can pretty much be left to their own devices and they will deliver a lamb without problems on their own in the field.  Although Linda occasionally has Bottle fed lambs around the clock.   I can remember Linda said they do not flock, so you have to tempt them with a bucket of food to round them up, also conventional sheep fencing does not suffice to contain this breed, although they are small they are agile and feisty.  There coloured fleece is a treat for many crafters.  They do not need to be sheared like other sheep as they shed their fleece naturally or it can be picked/pulled off to be gathered.
They are also good for meat, (sorry I cringed writing that).  The meat portions are much smaller but apparently delicious.  Rather than eat the lamb, farmers would wait until the Lamb is older than seven months and then it is called a Hogget and the meat is also called Hogget...not lamb and not mutton, the portions then are bigger than they would be but still considerably smaller than your average lamb.  Enough already of all this talk of eating little Hoggetsies it is not a nice thought!  Delicious on the plate maybe but not a nice thought when you look at the cute little Baa Lambs.  I am such a 'Townie' and would really have never made a Farmers Wife!  My meat comes in packs not from animals of course!
You can read Linda's  Artists Statement Here and also see samples of her work, felting, Dying and crochet to make hats, scarves, bags and jewellery.  I loved the bags made with natural fleece that had been wet felted.  Some of them had buttons made from natural materials, stone with natural holes in them (as opposed to drilled holes), leather or horn.  Bags like this could have been made in Bronze Age Britain as the techniques and materials were all available then.  Bone, leather, stone and horn would have been used for buttons.  It is believed felting is the earliest form of fabric dating from at least 10 000 years ago.
Do pop over and read more about Linda Moss and look at more examples of her beautiful textile work.  Very inspirational stuff.
            Now me needs a little sheepy.  We have just about chicken proofed the garden (well we actually gave half of it to the chickens and gave up)!  I wonder if I could persuade my Other Half to Soay Sheep proof the back garden?  I have also heard about a Piggy Wig that needs a new home as it is upsetting its Llama and Alpaca brothers and sisters!

Mental note to self:  Must Buy Lottery Ticket!


  1. Hmmm, I wonder how your chickies would react to having a sheep(s) around? The all natural bags sound wonderful! Stuff like that fascinates me. Thanks for sharing about those rare sheep with us!

  2. That sounds wonderful to see, it is great to use natural materials to craft with. I would love to have goats, pigs, sheep, chickens and alpacas! Might need a much nigger garden though!

  3. Oooh lovely looking sheep! We have fields of sheep around the house, but they are all Hampshire Down's (not sure why they are in Devon!). Hope you won the lottery last night - sounds like you need a small-holding! x x x

  4. We need to club together and buy some land ;)

    1. I don't have a very practical business mind sadly, I just fall for cute furred, fleecy and feathered critters! I could easily become an animal 'hoarder'! The trouble is nobody will let me, I live with spoil sports! Booooh....

  5. How fun!! I'm wishing you luck to win the lotto :)


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