17 February 2009


What can I say? She charmed us. We were ripe for the picking and she swept us off our feet and we haven't looked back since. I suppose I should start at the beginning of this particular story. It starts Mother's Day weekend two years ago at the Shepherd's Harvest Festival, an annual event for knitters, spinners and fiber enthusiasts held at the fairgrounds on Lake Elmo near Stillwater, MN.

Six months prior I had taught both my mother and sister how to knit. (After teaching myself from the first Stitch and Bitch.) I had heard about the festival at one of the yarn stores in Duluth, MN. It sounded fun. A fan of craft shows and art fairs alike, I invited my mother and sister to drive down with me thinking we'd find something to capture our fancy.

The festival didn't disappoint. There were vendors selling yarn and fibers for spinning, shearing demos, and sheep dogs doing tricks; not to mention the normal, everyday women, walking around knitting socks. We met the heroine of our tale in the sheep barns on the far side of the fairground in a pen of fresh straw nosing up to her mother.

Julia is a registered CVM romeldale ewe. Romeldales are known for their luxurious fleece, prized by hand spinners. Romeldale yarn can be worn right next to the skin. Their fiber comes in a variety of colors ranging from a strange blue-gray, taupe-caramel, pure white, rich cream, deep dark chocolate, to black as pitch. Their markings are unique. All CVM romeldales sport the classic markings: dark legs flow into lighter midsections, like earth-toned watercolors bleeding into creamy white paper.

The shepherd who raised Julia, Sandy of Winterwind Farms, was informative and enthusiastic. Long story short: there are a lot sheep in this world who need a good home and my parents just happened to own a farm with no livestock. Later on that same summer my parents purchased four ewes, two rams, and one wethering from Winterwind--with two angora goats thrown in for good measure.

Ready or not, we had entered the world of fiber.

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