Her Handspun Habit: Adopt-a-Sheep (Isn’t it romantic?)
Last year, my friend Kim’s husband asked what she wanted for their wedding anniversary. A spinner and all-around fiber lover, Kim responded, “A sheep.” Kim was mostly kidding; both knew that the county wouldn’t allow them to adopt a sheep in their smallish backyard. Besides, with four children and full-time jobs, they didn’t have time.
But Jason, who has always supported Kim’s fibery pursuits, set about making his wife’s dream come true. When their anniversary rolled around, Kim was surprised to receive a certificate stating that for the next 12 months, she was the proud adoptive owner of a Coopworth sheep! The farm would do all the work, Kim would get the updates and opportunities to visit, and come shearing time, every ounce of the jacketed, skirted fleece would then be mailed straight to her house.
She was ecstatic . . . and a bit apprehensive. Sweet Jason knew nothing about sheep. What if she were to receive an unspinnable, icky fleece in the mail? What would Kim tell Jason when he asked why she wasn’t spinning her gift? As it turns out, Kim had nothing to worry about. Jason had spent months researching adopt-a-sheep programs, and a quick perusal of Owens Farm’s website immediately put her at ease. Clearly, these people knew their sheep. Not only did Kim receive a photo of her ewe, its life story, and other sweet swag along with her certificate, but Caroline Owen did a terrific job of keeping Kim updated as shearing time drew near.
I went around to take a look at my friend’s six-plus-pound bounty upon its arrival. This fleece was a beauty (and so clean!), and she even gave me a bit to take home myself.
What to Know Before You Adopt a Sheep
Helping someone adopt a sheep can be a quirky and tremendous gift to the sheep-lover in your life. (It is completely acceptable to send gifts to oneself, if you’re wondering.) It’s not an inexpensive gift; bear in mind how much time and energy go into the care, feeding, and raising of such an animal. Add to that the cost of any swag, shipping, time spent communicating, etc., and suddenly the amount sounds like a bargain. Many sheep (such as Kim’s Coopworth) produce enough fleece to comfortably split with a friend, or several, and still have plenty to work with.
While Owens Farm does have a well-deserved reputation for its adopt-a-fleece program, a good internet search will produce other contenders. Just be sure to do your due diligence before sending any payment. Is there a written program and cost format on the farm’s website? How about any complaints on social media? How long has this farm been in business? How long have they been selling their lambs’ wool? Does the seller reply to you in a timely manner?
In the coming weeks, I’ll be back to talk even more about fleece attainment. If you have never gotten your hands on any unprocessed locks or a fleece of you own, there is no spinning experience quite like it!
Featured Image: Kim stands at the tail of “her” sheep’s fleece, laying hands on her adopted sheep in person for the first time. Photos by Deborah Held
How to Prepare Your Fleece!