The Summer break offers a wonderful opportunity to get away and spend time with my family. A favourite area of ours is on the South Coast, in Dorset. In particular a 1200 acre working farm that has unspoilt rolling chalk downs running to the sea. My favourite shawls Much ado about nothing and Wollaton proved to be an indispensible addition to my limited camping wardrobe!
The children (and us) love the working aspect of the farm, which is made even better as 9000+ sheep roam the gorgeous hills. We have visited Julian’s farm for many years (pre kids ~ whenever that was ha ha) The sheepdogs are something else, so focused and dedicated, working in partnership with the farm hands on quad bikes, a real pleasure to see in their natural environment.
In discussions with Julian about farming, sheep, wool and the process of getting to a finished article, it provided an opportunity to introduce him to skeins of handdyed sherwoodyarn. I am not sure that he used the term ‘squishy’ or ‘colourway’ but he was delighted to see the result of his labours turned into a beautifully spun and coloured skein ready for a project. At that point I just had to introduce him to Much ado about nothing and Wollaton. He was most interested in the getting from skein to F.O. and called over others to view the labours of a team effort by farmer through to dyer-designer-knitter. I think a worsted weight in a larger size would perhaps suit the 6ft+ farmer J
Much to my delight it was a real privilege to be invited to view the sheep shearing in the woolshed on the following morning. A team of three shearers were to relieve the sheep of their heavy winter fleece. Once again passion, dedication and devotion to the task in hand were on display by all, and no small measure of skill. Neil, Nick and Trev sheared well over 900 sheep that day ably supported by Kayleigh, Emily and Julian, a real team effort.
Our Summer breaks are always refreshing but the insights gained on the farm this year have given me a deeper respect for the product that I love working with and I return to Sherwood with further inspiration for colourways and designs which I will love to share with you over the coming weeks and months. Rachael x
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