We raise purebred registered Shetland Sheep here under the 100 year old nut trees on the hills overlooking a large fishing pond. We chose this wonderful heritage breed because they have a significant history in textile production over centuries, they produce a very unique soft wool in many natural colors that has the amazing combination of being both soft and durable. There is no wool that is better for heirloom knitting. They are hardy, decease resistant animals that are more browsers than grazers. This means they make good use of many types of forage, not just grass. These little sheep are great mothers and give birth easily without much help or hand holding.
The history of this sheep begins with the Vikings, who first brought them to small islands off the coast of Scotland in the North Atlantic. The breed developed by surviving and even thriving on the rough scrubby forage available on these weathered little islands. Later, crofters, or farmers cared for these sheep and harvested the wool and used it for fishermen sweaters, developed the art of Fair Isle knitting and created the famous lace wedding ring shawls on the island of Unst. Young Queen Victoria collected and wore Shetland Lace shawls. We have always been fascinated with British and Norse history, and learning about this little sheep has been a true pleasure.
Pictured here you see our flock of many colors, that as of this writing has grown to number 38. We harvest the fleece once or twice a year and use it for hand processing into batts and yarn. Much of the harvest is brought to Gurdy Run Fiber Mill in Halifax, PA where our Hilltop Shetland Yarn is produced. Even the skirtings are used in the garden as mulch, so nothing is wasted.