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Historic Deerfield, Wooly Wonders
May 20 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT
An event every day that begins at 10:00 am, repeating until May 21, 2023
Join us for some woolly fun during Historic Deerfield’s Heritage Breed Sheep Weekend!
Join us for a celebration of rare, historic and adorable heritage breed sheep, textiles, and wool-processing in New England. See heritage breeds of sheep (and lambs!) including Lincoln Longwool, Shetland, and Merino, as well as demonstrations of sheepdog herding, hand-shearing, spinning on historic wheels, and weaving. Try your hand at washing, carding, and dyeing wool. Weave on a small floor loom. Browse vendors’ wares such as woolen yarns, fiber preparations for handspinning, and sheep-themed items. There will also be games, a scavenger hunt, and craft activities for all ages.
Included with general admission.
The Sheep Breeds
Prada de Lana Sheep Farm, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
The breed that changed the culture of the Connecticut River Valley. Merinos were introduced to America in 1802. Their fleece is the finest fiber domestic wool in the world. The breed quickly adapted to New England and became extremely popular and profitable. The economy of the area changed dramatically through wool production and the establishment of woolen mills throughout the region. The medium sized breed is predominantly white and colored strains are also being bred. They adapt well to the New England climate and lamb easily. Horns are common and curl tightly against the head.
LINCOLN LONGWOOL (Heritage Breed Status: Threatened)
Rocks and Rills Farm, Hancock, New Hampshire
The Lincoln Longwool is the largest of the British breeds. The long, lustrous wool was ideal for the worsted wool mills that flourished in Norfolk, England. Many of the 18th century English woolen textiles in the Historic Deerfield collection were the product of the long wool British Breeds. Many regional English breeds were improved by using Lincoln Longwools as foundation stock for breeding. The longwools were found throughout New England in the colonial period and today their fleeces are sought after by hand spinners and weavers pursuing traditional craft designs.
SHETLAND (Heritage Breed Status: Recovering)
Echo Valley Farm, Cornish, Maine
Shetland sheep have evolved as a small, short-tailed breed common to the Shetland Islands of Scotland. The wool fleeces of the Shetlands are fine and soft. Fiber artists, knitters, weavers and handspinners enjoy working with these poplar fibers. The Shetlands may sometimes be double coated with a course outer fleece for weather protection and a softer inner fleece for warmth. The breed is small with a weight averaging less than 125 lbs. A great asset is the diversity of color in the fleeces.