Right now I’m listening to Gershwin and the sun is shining. There will always be music and sunshine. I’m determined not to let anything, anyone take my smile away. Just thinking about Ira Gershwin, I’m inspired. Born Israel Gershowitz in 1896 and working in his father Moisha’s Turkish baths until he became involved in the music business in the 20s, I wonder at the opposition he and anyone of his ethnicity and social status faced and had to rise above. I can only imagine, obviously.
I drove my daughter back to college last weekend and had a long discussion about my family’s heritage on my father’s side. She quizzed me about pogroms and flights. We talked about the Egyptians, the Jews, the many and varied oppressed societies and the art and beauty that has come from the ashes.
Not entirely unrelated, I have been reading and researching heritage sheep breeds and their ability to adapt and thrive under varied and adverse conditions. I own Shetlands & Cotswolds which are on the threatened and recovering lists. I watch with interest and fascination to see others I know that are involved in bringing back other critical and threatened breeds and follow groups that make journeys to remote islands to research and introduce positive and constructive measures to recover flocks. I think I would very much like to help more in the future.
Ways you can help are by supporting The Livestock Conservancy whose mission is “genetic conservation and the promotion of heritage breeds.” A fellow designer and teacher, Maria Muscarella, has published a breed-specific pattern, ‘Fleece Flight‘, this fall using wool from breeds which are on the Conservancy’s list, including Cotswold fiber from our own farm in the form of “Thelma & Louise”. Maria is donating proceeds to The Livestock Conservancy and writes, “Throughout the world, there are over 1,000 distinct breeds of sheep, yet many of us are only exposed to a few of the most common in our everyday knitting. Fleece Flight is a wonderful way to branch out and experience some of those rare yarns you have been missing.”
We are working with the other farms that have yarns specified by “Fleece Flight” to create an upcoming promotion! Thanks to Maria, we’re all giving our flocks high-fives on growing great fleeces because the demand has been so great!
Our yarn that is made from Thelma & Louise, our old Angora grannies, and also from Hester, our beautiful Cotswold ewe (+ a little fine wool), is presently sold out after some success in a pattern from Maria and also Beatrice Perron Dahlen’s “Gentle Ewe’ shawl. But the great news is that Mary Jeanne Packer, over at Battenkill Fiber Mill in Greenwich, NY, is almost finished with our next run. I ran the fall shearing over to her and like magic, she has turned it into more Thelma & Louise. It will take me a little bit, but I’ll get it back in the online shop and into the hands of the public as soon as possible. My mom came by this week and modeled her ‘Gentle Ewe Shawl’ she had made with the old girls’ pretty yarn. We had such fun taking pictures!
Our calendars were put out to pre-order this week and FLEW OFF THE SHELVES! (But not really, since they were pre-orders. However, there are zero-calendars in inventory now!) So we are busily prepping to put more in the shop.
Meanwhile, I am visiting my daughter in St. Louis while Martha and Tessa and Jim are watching the flocks for a couple of days. I’m anxious as heck to be away from my farm, but so happy to be with my dear one. We have good and fun things to do together.
Enjoy a little Autumn Ecodyeing HERE that I’ve set to Vivaldi. I’m excited to turn this pretty fabric into a garment during the cold of winter when I spend a little time at my sewing machine.
Stay inspired. There are so many wonderful and positive things to do and to be done!